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Parliamentary questions
PDF 104kWORD 19k
6 September 2018
E-004542-18
Question for written answer E-004542-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Carolina Punset (ALDE)

 Subject:  The use of Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) in sunscreens and its impact on the environment
 Answer in writing 

The Centre for Research and Teaching in Environmental Geoscience (CEREGE [Centre de Recherche et d’Enseignement de Géosciences de l’Environnement]) discovered that sunscreens release significant quantities of polluting TiO2 into the sea, which are potentially damaging to sea life(1).

TiO2 nanoparticles are used as one of the main ingredients in sunscreens, given that they protect against ultraviolet rays. In the study carried out by CEREGE on three beaches in southern France, researchers found that the nanoparticles lose their protective layer in water, due to the influence of UV light or seawater, exposing the marine environment to the most toxic TiO2. This means that, for a beach that is visited by around 3 000 people per day, close to 2.2 tonnes may be deposited over the course of the summer(2).

The lead researcher, Jérôme Labille, believes that part of the pollution caused by Titanium Dioxide is dispersed, due to the movement of the sea. However, an accumulation of TiO2 is expected at the coastline, which will affect wildlife. In recreational areas with standing water, the problem may be worse.

Nevertheless, the use of sunscreens is equally important. What measures does the Commission plan to take to tackle the problems resulting from the use of TiO2 in sunscreens?

(1)https://goldschmidt.info/2018/abstracts/abstractView?id=2018004621
(2)http://www.europapress.es/ciencia/habitat-y-clima/noticia-cientificos-revelan-dioxido-titanio-cremas-solares-contaminando-playas-20180820180852.html 

Original language of question: ES 
Last updated: 19 September 2018Legal notice