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Toxic Chemical Glossary:
What is Octinoxate: Chemical Free Living

What is octinoxate?

Octinoxate, or Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) is a UV absorber and filter [4][5]. OMC only filters the UV-B rays, not the UV-A rays [5].

What products is octinoxate in?

Octinoxate is used in sunscreens to filter UV-B rays. It is also used in hair color products, shampoos, lipsticks, nail polish, and skin creams to protect them from degrading in the sun [5].

How to tell if a product has octinoxate

Octinoxate may go by several different names on ingredient labels. Keep this in mind and avoid these synonyms that indicate that Octinoxate is present in sunscreen and other personal care products: ethylhexyl methoxycinnamte, 2-ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate; parsol, parsol mcx, escalol, 2-ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate; omc; 2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamte; 2-ethylhexyl ester p-methoxycinnamic acid; neo heliopan, einecs 226-775-7; ccris 6200; ai3-05710; 2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamte [4][5].

Risks associate with octinoxate

Octinoxate can be absorbed through skin and has been found in human urine, blood and breast milk. [5] Octinoxate is associated with a variety of health problems including

  • Endocrine disruption [4][5][1]
  • Cell proliferation by cells responsive to estrogen exposure [5]
  • Alteration of the reproductive systems of female offspring, reduction in sperm count of males & alteration of reproductive organ development (animal studies) [1][5]
  • Cellular changes [4]

How to avoid octinoxate

To avoid octinoxate, read ingredient labels and avoid products that are said to contain octinoxate or any of its synonyms (see above) [5]. To reduce the chances of sunburn, instead wear protective clothing, stay in the shade, and schedule outdoor time wisely [2]. Use toxic chemical free sunscreen products that are mineral based rather than chemical based [3].

References:

[1] EWG (2007-2016). The Trouble with Oxybenzone and Other Sunscreen Chemicals. Available online: http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/ December 20, 2016.

[2] Healthy Child Healthy World (2016). Worst Scoring Sunscreens for Kids. http://www.healthychild.org/worst-scoring-sunscreens-for-kids/ December 20, 2016.

[3] Healthy Child Healthy World (2016). Practice Safer Sunscreening. Available online: http://www.healthychild.org/easy-steps/practice-safer-sunscreening/ December 20, 2016.

[4]EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (2007-2016). Octinoxate. Available online: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/704203/OCTINOXATE/ December 20, 2016.

[5] Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (2016). Octinoxate. Available online: http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/octinoxate/ December 21, 2016.

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