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FILE - Sunscreen ingredients, including octinoxate, are shown May 2, 2018, in San Jose, Calif. VOA

The active ingredients of commonly-used sunscreens end up in the bloodstream at much higher levels than current U.S. guidelines from health regulators and warrant further safety studies, according to a small study conducted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers and published on Monday.

The over-the-counter products originally marketed to prevent sunburn with little regulation are widely used to block radiation from the sun that can cause skin cancer, the most common malignancy in the United States.


The study of 23 volunteers tested four sunscreens, including sprays, lotion and cream, applied to 75 percent of the body four times a day over four days, with blood tests to determine the maximum levels of certain chemicals absorbed into the bloodstream conducted over seven days.


The study findings raise many important questions about sunscreen and the process by which the sunscreen industry, clinicians, specialty organizations, and regulatory agencies evaluate the benefits and risks of this topical OTC medication. Pixabay

The study found maximum plasma levels of the chemicals it tested for — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and in one sunscreen ecamsule — to be well above the level of 0.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) at which FDA guidelines call for further safety testing.

For example, the maximum concentration of avobenzone was found to be 4 ng/mL and 3.4 ng/mL for two different sprays, 4.3 ng/mL for a lotion and 1.8 ng/mL for the cream. Researchers did not name the products used in the study.

The effects of plasma concentrations exceeding the FDA’s limit is not known and needs to be further studied, the research team wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The results in no way suggest that people should stop using sunscreen to protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, researchers said.

“The demonstration of systemic absorption well above the FDA guideline does not mean these ingredients are unsafe,” Dr. Robert Califf and Dr. Kanade Shinkai said in an editorial that accompanied the study in JAMA.


However, the Personal Care Products Council trade association pointed out limitations of the study and expressed concern that it may confuse consumers. Pixabay

“The study findings raise many important questions about sunscreen and the process by which the sunscreen industry, clinicians, specialty organizations, and regulatory agencies evaluate the benefits and risks of this topical OTC medication,” they added. David Andrews, a senior scientist at the nonprofit health and environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group, called for thorough testing of sunscreen ingredients.

ALSO READ: Watching Children Tackle Climate Change Issues Could Influence Views of Parents, Scientists Say

“For years the sunscreen chemical manufactures have resisted common sense safety testing for their ingredients and now FDA is proposing that these common ingredients must undergo additional testing to stay on the market,” Andrews said.

However, the Personal Care Products Council trade association pointed out limitations of the study and expressed concern that it may confuse consumers. Sunscreens in the study were used at “twice the amount that would be applied in what the scientific community considers real-world conditions,” said Alexandra Kowcz, the group’s chief scientist. (VOA)


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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Delhi to get new QR-based driving livenses and registration certificates.

In a step towards digitisation of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).

As per a statement, the new driving licence will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.

The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in case of defaulters.

"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.

The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)

An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card based DL and RC, will have chip based/ QR code based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.

The QR code also has an added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, Driving License, Registration License, Digitisation.


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