Status quo on identified transformation products of organic ultraviolet filters and their persistence

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


Organic micropollutants of concern—including organic UV filters (UVF)—are getting increasing attention. Personal care products such as sunscreens or cosmetic articles often contain large quantities of UVF. These substances enter the environment either directly (during outdoor activities) or indirectly (via sewages from households). Therefore, the removal or degradation of UVF by natural or technical treatment processes is important to understand. UVF are often incompletely removed and transformed to side products of incomplete mineralization by abiotic and biotic processes. An extensive overview on transformation products (TPs) is essential to systematically identify knowledge gaps and to derive research needs. While there are many reviews on the UVF themselves, the number of reviews which focus on their TPs is limited. Consequently, this review gives an overview on the latest findings regarding TPs of UVF. In this publication, known TPs of UVF, which were formed during abiotic and biotic processes, are reviewed. Target substances were defined and a literature database was reviewed for studies on TPs of the target substances. The first list of studies was shortened stepwise, thus generating a final list of studies which contained only the relevant studies. Since biodegradation is one of the most important pathways for removal of organic compounds from the environment, this review presents an overview on known TPs of organic UVF and their biodegradability, which determines their environmental fate. In this way, all identified TPs of UVF were listed and checked for information on their biodegradability. A total of 2731 records of studies were assessed. Forty-two studies, which assessed 46 processes that lead to the formation of identified TPs, were included in this review. One hundred and seventyseven different TPs resulting from 11 different UVF were identified. Little to no data on the biodegradability was found for TPs. This indicates a severe lack of data on the biodegradability of TPs of organic UVF substances. Since most TPs lack information on biodegradability, further research should provide information on both—identity and biodegradability—of formed TPs to be able to assess their hazardousness for the environment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cosmetic Science
Issue numberS1
Pages (from-to)101-126
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 10.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
These results derive from a collaborative project in Lower Saxony and Israel with financial support from the Ministry of Science and Culture, Lower Saxony, Germany to research ‘Personal care products (PCPs) as source for micropollutants in Greywater – Identification, quantification and on‐site treatment’, Project No. VWZN 2830. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. International Journal of Cosmetic Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Cosmetic Scientists and Societe Francaise de Cosmetologie.

    Research areas

  • Chemistry - abiotic/ biotic processes, suncare/ UV protection, fate, Micropollutants, stability