The Toxicological Effects of Oxybenzone on Chlorella vulgaris.docx

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The Toxicological Effects of Oxybenzone on Chlorella vulgaris Abstract: Oxybenzone is an active organic chemical commonly found in sunscreens. Oxybenzone is known in some instances to be harmful to marine organisms. There is currently little to no knowledge of the toxicological effects oxybenzone has on freshwater organisms. This study aims to understand the toxicological effects of oxybenzone on Chlorella vulgaris , a freshwater algae. Algae is the base of the food chain, therefore if oxybenzone is shown to be a contaminant to Chlorella vulgaris then the viability of other freshwater organisms are at risk. It is hypothesized that oxybenzone negatively affects the viability of Chlorella vulgaris. To test the effect of oxybenzone on Chlorella vulgaris , algae growth was monitored over a span of eight days. Three trials were ran, each trial containing a control group (no sunscreen), 0.01% oxybenzone-based sunscreen, 0.10% oxybenzone-based sunscreen, 1.00% oxybenzone-based sunscreen, 0.01% oxybenzone- free sunscreen, 0.10% oxybenzone-free sunscreen, and 1.00% oxybenzone-free sunscreen. Due to Chlorella vulgaris being microscopic, they are difficult to count. Oxygen concentrations were gathered as a proxy for determining the toxicity of oxybenzone. The obtained oxygen concentrations measured from Chlorella vulgaris indicated that the oxybenzone negatively affects viability. The ANOVA test showed that the critical value at 0.05 significance level was 2.85, which means that at null hypothesis was rejected. Meaning that at 1.00% oxybenzone, showed a detrimental effect on Chlorella vulgaris . These results indicate a potential detrimental effect of oxybenzone- based sunscreen to other freshwater organisms as well. Further research must be conducted to understand if the effects are similar to other freshwater organisms. Introduction : The inexorable toll that pollution has on the ecosystem puts plants and animals at great danger. As harmful substances enter and spread into an environment, a myriad of problems arise. First being that organisms within that polluted environment are affected (Clark et al ., 1989). For instance, just as air pollution can lead to negative respiratory effects for humans, oxybenzone- based sunscreen exposure may lead to negative effects for freshwater organisms. An organism’s rate of growth and reproduction are negatively altered (Clark et al ., 1989). Furthermore, aquatic life is currently in great danger from the effects of pollution. As water pollution increases, the health of the aquatic environment is challenged. Since the ocean is necessary to sustain our life, the waters need to be protected. Over the past decade there has been a growing concern about the toxicity of sunscreen within aquatic environments. Though, the need for sunscreen is important for preventing skin cancer, the ingredients used in sunscreen may have a detrimental effect on the aquatic environment (Schneider & Lim, 2019). As skin cancer incidence has dramatically increased over the past fifty years, sunscreen sales have skyrocketed ( Schneider & Lim, 2019). Oxybenzone, also known as Benzophenone-3 or BP-3, is an

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