L’Oréal R&I has worked with CSM to evaluate the degree to which UV filters contribute to the bleaching of corals. To do so, the researchers at CSM developed a test in the laboratory on cultured corals from the species Stylophora pistillata. In controlled light and temperature conditions in natural seawater, the model can be used to rigorously evaluate the impact of any molecule that could contaminate coral reefs.
During the study, the researchers at CSM exposed the corals to increasing concentrations of UV filters, ranging from the maximum concentrations found in the sea in tourist areas up to concentrations 10,000 times greater. The main UV filters used in L’Oréal’s sunscreen products were tested by measuring the photosynthetic activity of the symbiotic micro-algae that live among the corals. After 5 weeks of contact, the results show that these organic filters have no harmful effects on the coral, even at concentrations greater than their solubility limit. These 5 organic UV filters used in cosmetics did not negatively affect the photosynthesis of the symbiotic algae, unlike certain weedkillers known for their rapid negative impact on the survival of these micro-algae.
“Our study is the first to develop a replicable test using a key parameter in the physiology of coral – which is very sensitive to environmental disturbances - the photosynthetic activity of the algae that lives symbiotically with the coral. These algae are essential for the life of their coral hosts. This test, currently applied to cosmetic products, could be used to evaluate the toxicity of any type of molecule.”
Scientific Director at CSM.
“The development of this new test is part of the overall approach initiated by L’Oréal R&I over 15 years ago, which aims to ensure the environmental safety of the products we market.”
Sustainable Innovation Manager at L’Oréal R&I.
L’Oréal R&I continues to demonstrate its commitment to the development of products that respect the marine environment by working with the CSM and the TARA Foundation.