UV filters in sunscreens
: an in vitro evaluation of their cytotoxicity, endocrine disrupting activity, and transdermal transportation

  • Anna Stathi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are referring to several exogenous chemicals or mixtures of chemicals, which are capable of interfering with the normal function of the endocrine system and may cause detrimental health effects. Most importantly, during their lifespans, humans and other living organisms are continuously exposed to a wide range of EDCs. This exposure can increase the risk of male and/or female reproduction system disorders, developmental   abnormalities, metabolic diseases, as well as various cancers. Ultraviolet filters (UV), that are investigated in the current research are chemical or physical molecules found in sunscreen products that are used aiming to provide protection against the negative effects of the UV radiation from the sun. The reason that UV filters have now come under scrutiny is because they are suspected to perturbate the normal function of the endocrine system as such there are indications suggesting that they pose risks to both human health and environment. Humans are encouraged to utilize sunscreens, that contain several UV filters. These are applied on the skin, which enables the penetration of UV filters through the skin and following dermal absorption they can enter the systemic circulation and may contribute to possible adverse health effects, such as endocrine disruption, therefore highlighting the need for further investigations. Investigations carried out in the current research, include both single UV filter in vitro testing as well as testing of final commercial sunscreen products following dermal absorption. The findings of the current thesis may contribute and expand the identification of potential EDCs, such as UV filters, as well as contribute to the development of safer sunscreens, in the near future.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 July 2026.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorRyan Donnelly (Supervisor) & Lisa Connolly (Supervisor)


  • UV filters
  • high content analysis
  • endocrine disrupting chemical
  • prelethal cytotoxicity

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