Endocrine Active UV Filters: Developmental Toxicity and Exposure Through Breast Milk


  • Margret Schlumpf
  • Jesus A. F. Tresguerres
  • Barry Timms
  • Armin Zenker
  • Sasha Reolon
  • Kirsten Maerkel
  • Luke Hofkamp
  • Manuel Henseler
  • Catherine Gaille
  • Michaela Fuetsch
  • Colin Ehnes
  • Oliver Faass
  • Stefan Durrer
  • Monika Birchler
  • Claudia C. Vökt
  • Karin Kypke
  • Walter Lichtensteigera




3-benzylidene camphor (3-bc), Developmental toxicity, Human milk, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-mbc), Uv filters


Several UV filters exhibit endocrine activity. Evidence for transdermal passage and presence in the food chain (fish) suggests potential exposure of humans during development. Developmental toxicity was studied in rats for the estrogenic UV filters 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC, 0.7, 7, 24, 47 mg/kg/day) and 3-benzylidene camphor (3-BC, 0.07, 0.24, 0.7, 2.4, 7 mg/kg/day) administered in chow to the parent generation before mating, during pregnancy and lactation, and to the offspring until adulthood. Neonates exhibited enhanced prostate growth after 4-MBC and altered uterine gene expression after both filters. 4-MBC and 3-BC delayed male puberty and affected reproductive organ weights of adult offspring. Interactions with the thyroid were noted. Expression and estrogen sensitivity of target genes and nuclear receptor coregulators were altered at mRNA and protein levels in adult uterus, prostate and brain. Female sexual behavior was affected by 4-MBC and 3-BC, estrous cycles by 3-BC. Classical endpoints exhibited LOAELs/NOAELs of 7/0.7 mg/kg/day for 4-MBC and 0.24/0.07 mg/kg/day for 3-BC. Molecular endpoints were affected by the lowest doses. In order to obtain information on human exposure, we conducted a monitoring study on human milk with three series of mother–child pairs (2004, 2005, 2006), with focus on cosmetic UV filters in relation to other endocrine disrupters. Methods for UV filter analysis followed the principles of European standardized methods for pesticide residue analysis (EN 15289). In cohorts 2004 and 2005, 78.8% of women reported use of product(s) containing cosmetic UV filters in a questionnaire, and 76.5% of milk samples contained these filters. Use of UV filters and concentration in human milk were significantly correlated. The results agree with the idea of transdermal passage of UV filters. They also indicate that it may be possible to reduce human exposure during critical periods such as pregnancy and lactation by transiently abstaining from use.






Scientific Articles

How to Cite

M. Schlumpf, J. A. F. Tresguerres, B. Timms, A. Zenker, S. Reolon, K. Maerkel, L. Hofkamp, M. Henseler, C. Gaille, M. Fuetsch, C. Ehnes, O. Faass, S. Durrer, M. Birchler, C. C. Vökt, K. Kypke, W. Lichtensteigera, Chimia 2008, 62, 345, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2008.345.