In recent years, a large number of sunscreens have emerged to protect our skin. Most of them are made up of simple or compound aromatic structures, which can pose a threat to marine ecosystems. In order to understand their effects on the marine environment, different ecotoxicological bioassays were carried out using planktonic organisms from three phyla and two different trophic levels: larvae of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus
, the copepod Acartia tonsa
, and the microalga Tisochrysis lutea
. The aim of these tests was to expose these organisms to leachates from eight sunscreen formulations. All of them showed a great variability in toxicity on the different plankton organisms. The highest toxicity level was found for cream number 4 when tested on sea urchin, exhibiting an EC50
= 122.4 mg/L. The toxicity of the UV filter 2-phenyl-5-benzimidazolesulfonic acid, exclusively present in that cream, was evaluated in sea urchin, where an EC10
= 699.6 mg/L was obtained under light exposure. According to our results, all tested creams become nontoxic to plankton upon 30,000-fold dilution in seawater; thus, only local effects are expected. This study highlights the need to understand the toxic effects generated by solar protection products, as well as their ingredients, on marine organisms.
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