by Andrew Walden
A movement devolves into a business which devolves into a racket.
Media campaigns slip vested interests directly into the ‘racket’ phase without any pesky little ‘movement’ people getting in the way.
For instance: Chemophobia.
In 1903 Thomas Edison electrocuted a pachyderm in an attempt to discredit AC electricity in favor of his DC system. Topsy the elephant died in front of a crowd of 1,500 gawkers, but the world is now wired for Nikola Tesla’s AC system, so perhaps Edison’s self-interest was too obvious.
Modern chemophobia campaigners tend to hide their money motive and usually pretend to be on the side of wildlife.
For instance: Sunscreen.
Hawaii, with Act 104 of 2018, became the first state to ban sale of sunscreen containing benzophene-3 and octinoxate, claiming these ingredients contribute to coral bleaching.
Act 104 took effect January 1, 2021, and the chemophobes are already back for more.
In the current Legislative session, SB132 would prohibit sale of sunscreen products containing avobenzone and octocrylene.
Akamai readers already know the majority of ‘studies’ are false. Scientific American calls it, “An Epidemic of False Claims.”
Studies are a tool, not a reason.
Follow the money.
The original 2015 coral-sunscreen study was fronted in Hawaii by the Haereticus Environmental Lab led by UH grad Dr Craig Downs. Haereticus’ study partners include Tel Aviv University. Billionaire Len Blavatnik owns BASF Chemical and is a member of the academic board at Tel Aviv University. Avobenzone is a direct competitor to BASF’s Tinosorb compounds.
What is the real reason behind the anti-sunscreen campaign?
BASF has been trying to break in to the US sunscreen market for nearly 20 years. They have been blocked by protectionist FDA stalling.
The Environmental Working Group explains:
Between 2003 and 2010, sunscreen makers applied for FDA permission to use eight sun-filtering chemicals developed by European companies. Four of these – Tinosorb S, Tinosorb M, Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL – appear to be more effective than avobenzone, the most common UVA filter permitted by the FDA. The FDA’s failure to respond to these applications prompted Congress to pass the Sunscreen Innovation Act of 2014 (FDA 2014). This act requires the FDA to review new applications for sunscreen active ingredients within 300 days, but it doesn’t relax the standards companies must meet to prove new ingredients are both safe and effective.
In 2015, the FDA responded that the companies involved had not submitted enough information to prove their chemicals were, in fact, safe and effective for use (FDA 2015). The agency asked for more data, including complete study results, measurements of ingredient levels in people’s blood, and long-term studies on systemic toxicity and potential endocrine system disruption. The FDA has also proposed that all sunscreen ingredients, including those already in use, need to have adequate safety testing data.
Some information the FDA wants, such as complete copies of studies, might be easy for sunscreen makers to produce. But in other cases, the companies could take years to satisfy FDA requests….
Four European sunscreen ingredients merit close consideration for inclusion in U.S. products. Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M UVA filters, developed by BASF, appear to be much stronger and less affected by exposure to light than avobenzone. In an effort to gain access to the U.S. market, BASF gave the FDA the results of toxicity and safety tests, including skin and eye irritation, phototoxicity, dermal toxicity and oral feeding studies (Regulations.gov 2008a, 2008b). The European Commission has examined Tinosorb S (SCCNFP 1999) and Tinosorb M (SCCS 2013) and determined that both ingredients could safely be used in sunscreens in concentrations of up to 10 percent. In 2014, the FDA asked BASF for more details about tests of both chemicals….
In February 2019, the FDA released a final draft of the sunscreen monograph, in which the agency proposed to strengthen its standard for UVA protection. It also proposed a more protective UVA standard in 2007, but never implemented it, because of significant industry pressure….
The news isn’t all bad. As soon as the FDA capitulates, the media campaign will stop.
2015: New Scientific Study Finds Coral Reefs Under Attack From Chemical In Sunscreen As Global Bleaching Event Hits
NOAA: Study Partners (include) Tel Aviv University
Wiki: Len Blavatnik owns BASF and is a member of the academic board at Tel Aviv University. As of May 2020, Blavatnik was the 4th wealthiest man in the United Kingdom. On July 25, 2020, American business magazine, Forbes listed Blavatnik as the 45th wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$25.9 billion. In 2017, Blavatnik received a knighthood for services to philanthropy.
2019: There’s insufficient evidence your sunscreen harms coral reefs
2019: Sorbonne Study, more coral badstuff, etc
2021: SB132 prohibit sale of sunscreen products containing avobenzone and octocrylene
2021: Sunscreen bill banning more reef-unfriendly chemicals in Hawaii advances in Legislature
EWG: “Does Europe Have Better Sunscreens?
FDA Sunscreen Rulemaking Schedule: LINK