Dr. Glanz named to new NAS committee to review the science on sunscreen, coral reefs, and cancer prevention

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, a George A. Weiss University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named to a new National Academy of Sciences committee: Committee on Environmental Impact of Currently Marketed Sunscreens and Potential Human Impacts of Changes in Sunscreen Usage. The study is sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and managed by the Ocean Studies Board and the National Academy of Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division. This study will review the state of science on the use of currently marketed sunscreen ingredients, their fate and effects in aquatic environments, and the potential public health implications associated with changes in sunscreen usage.

Why is the study being done? 

Concerns have been raised about the potential toxicity of sunscreens to a variety of marine and freshwater aquatic organisms, particularly corals. At the same time, there are concerns that people will use less sunscreen rather than substituting sunscreens with UV filters that are considered environmentally safe.

Karen Glanz has been conducting research in skin cancer prevention for more than 25 years.  She is internationally recognized as a leader in the study of human behavior related to sun protection, and commercial aspects of sunscreen sales and purchases.

Coverage of Hawaii’s ban on certain sunscreens and the risks involved

Hawaii proposed and then passed a bill banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in order to “preserve marine ecosystems.” PRC director and Penn professor, Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, co-authored an op-ed for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser titled, “Suncreens save lives, have limited impact on coral reefs.” While on sabbatical for the first part of 2018 as a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Dr. Glanz teamed up with Kevin Cassel, president of the Hawaii Skin Cancer Coalition, on this piece published, March 29, 2018.

Glanz and Cassel start by acknowledging that sunscreen is an important factor in preventing skin cancer. They call on legislators to fund more research on the ingredients in sunscreen and the effects they have on Hawaii’s natural resources.

Their article caught the attention of the local media and they called on Dr. Glanz to present her views on the impact this decision could have on those at risk for skin cancer. She mentions that the higher price for sunscreens that don’t contain those ingredients could prevent people from purchasing those products. “The cost of these so-called reef-friendly products for sunscreen ranges anywhere from two times to as much as six to eight times as much as what is on the shelves now.” She points out that it isn’t just beachgoers that are affected, there are a number of jobs in Hawaii requiring people to work outside and they could be the most at risk.

READ the article here.
WATCH Karen’s interview with Hawaii News Now 
LISTEN to her interview with SiriusXM, Knowledge@Wharton with Dan Loney on May 17, 2018. 

Mahealani Richardson of Hawaii News Now interviewed Karen Glanz and Kevin Cassel on this topic and the story aired April 4, 2018.

Click here to see the story on Hawaii News Now.

After Hawaii passes the legislation, Mahealani Richardson gets an update.















Listen to Karen’s interview with Dan Loney at SiriusXM Knowledge@Wharton, (Wharton Business Radio) on May 17, 2018 HERE.