Véronique Poulsen

Development of a Modeling Framework to Assess the Environmental Exposure of UV Filters in Freshwater and Marine Systems

Head of Environmental Safety L’ORÉAL Research & Innovation . Dr. Véronique Poulsen is a more than 20-year experienced ecotoxicologist. She first worked 10 years at INERIS (National Institute of Industrial Environment and Risks) as responsible for ecotoxicological lab test development and outdoor aquatic mesocosms. She then worked during 11 years at Anses (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) as head of the Ecotoxicology and E-fate Unit, in charge of the risk assessment of pesticides. She currently works at L’Oréal as Head of Environmental Safety, to ensure the environmental safety of the ingredients used in L’Oréal’s formulated products according to worldwide regulations, and develop testing and assessment strategies. She also chairs the Environmental Science Working Group at Cosmetics Europe, the European Cosmetics trade association.

More and more studies address the effect of UV filters on corals. But these effects should be compared to exposure concentrations in order to conclude on risks for corals due to the use of sunscreen products. Monitoring data are more and more available, but not for all UV filters.

Cosmetics Europe (CE) is willing to better understand the distribution of UV filters in aquatic environments. For this purpose, CE requested an independent consultant to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing current numerical simulation models capable of predicting the fate and transport of ultraviolet (UV) filter(s) in the aquatic environment with a focus on marine systems near coral reefs. 


Building on existing knowledge and a conceptual model of UV filters entry into the aquatic environment, a tiered framework for estimating environmental exposure to surface and marine waters, is recommended to help CE understand the potential environmental distributions from the use of UV filters. The tiers cover simple conservative screening assessment, to progressively more sophisticated models, and finally monitoring as necessary to achieve increasingly accurate exposure estimates of UV filters. As a first step, specific models are recommended for tiers. 


As a second step, model scenarios will need to be developed to estimate exposure profiles of UV filters in different environments:  1) shoreline beaches, 2) poorly flushed bays, and 3) scenic coral areas in open waters popular with divers, with varying parameters depending on climatic zones.