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Product Safety: Annaleise Conway Presents on Sunscreen Testing at PCPC Symposium

By Annaleise Conway, Scientist
Morgan Willming, Ph.D., DABT, Consultant

The sunscreen ultraviolet (UV) filter oxybenzone can protect human skin from harmful UV rays. But does oxybenzone negatively impact corals? Integral assistant scientist Annaleise Conway will share her research on the toxicity of oxybenzone to corals at the October 26–27, 2021, symposium of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC). Integral Consulting is a silver sponsor of the event and is hosting a virtual booth with available downloads on our human and environmental work in the sunscreen space.

Literature has suggested that oxybenzone may pose an immediate risk to corals through a variety of avenues including induction of bleaching. This has led to a handful of bans around the world restricting the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone. During her presentation, Ms. Conway will outline research conducted through the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, using a repeatable standard toxicity test using Galaxea fascicularis, an easily cultured hard coral species. Ms. Conway conducted both acute and chronic toxicity testing and found that mortality occurred only at extremely high concentrations and found no evidence that oxybenzone directly induces bleaching. She used mortality and growth endpoints from the acute and chronic tests, respectively, to calculate risk quotients and found no evidence of risk of oxybenzone to these corals. Her presentation will begin at 10:50 a.m. Eastern time on October 26.

The results of Ms. Conway’s coral research will be published in Science of the Total Environment in November 2021; the preprint article is available online now. Read article.

Other Integral conference attendees will include scientist Morgan Willming, Ph.D., and project scientist Christina Ross. Ms. Ross is a coauthor of an article to be published online and in print on November 1 in the trade association journal HAPPI. The article’s title is “Benzene in Sunscreens & Sun Care Products.” HAPPI’s November issue features a sunscreen theme.

The PCPC’s annual Science Symposium, held virtually in 2021, attracts more than 300 industry leaders and decision makers. The robust program offers the industry a chance to learn, network, and engage with colleagues and speakers on game-changing insights facing microbiology, quality assurance, safety, and the environment. Keynote presentation topics will include the “Federal Drug Administration’s Continuing Priorities for Cosmetics” and “Learning to Manage the Multi-Risk World.”

The FDA has issued an updated proposed order requiring additional safety testing on many sunscreen active ingredients. Integral is supporting PCPC’s Sunscreen Task Force to fulfill these data requirements, with a focus on human absorption of sunscreen active ingredients.

For more information, contact Annaleise Conway at or Christina Ross at

Conway, A.J., M. Gonsior, C. Clark, A. Heyes, and C.L. Mitchelmore. 2021. Acute toxicity of the UV filter oxybenzone to the coral Galaxea fascicularis. Sci. Total Environ. 796.