The PCPC says that the use of oxybenzone in sunscreen products has been regulated by the US FDA and approved for doses of up to six percent. Oxybenzone is also known as Benzophenone-3 before it is formulated in over-the-counter sunscreen products sold in the US, and is also used to protect personal care and cosmetic products against the adverse effects of UV light. It is used in a wide spectrum of sun care products as well as products that incorporate sunscreens as a means of absorbing potentially dangerous UVA rays. FDA has evaluated the ingredient as safe "As part of FDA's evaluation and approval of Oxybenzone, the ingredient was thoroughly evaluated for safety and efficacy of sunscreen active ingredients", said John Bailey, chief scientist for the PCPC. In his statement Bailey also drew attention to the fact that the safety of Benzophenone-3 has also been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) to approve its safety in non-sunscreen OTC products. The CIR last updated its scientific database on Benzophenone-3 in 2002, when it reaffirmed that the ingredient was safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. Last week the EWG highlighed a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) alleging risks associated with the sunsceen ingredient oxybenzone. Studies claim links to toxicity The organisation estimates that 97 percent of Americans it tested for the study were contaminated by the ingredient, which has been linked to allergies such as hormone disruption and cell damage, together with birth defects associated with exposure to the chemical during pregnancy. Concerns brought about by earlier scientific studies have led authorities in the EU to regulate that any sunscreen product containing a more than 5 percent dose of the ingredient should be labelled accordingly. This is because studies have shown that the Oxybenzone can penetrate the skin's dermal layer, where it can increase production of free radicals, leading to the production of photocarinogen.