Can oxybenzone cause Hirschsprung's disease?

Reprod Toxicol. 2019 Jun;86:98-100. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2019.02.014. Epub 2019 Mar 1.


Oxybenzone is a ultraviolet (UV) absorber used in 70% of sunscreen products, is a recognized endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) and is small enough to pass through skin and placenta barriers. Numerous studies have identified this chemical in the urine/blood of pregnant women as well as in fetal and umbilical cord blood. A recent study demonstrated that women with medium to high levels of oxybenzone in their urine was associated with giving birth to neonates with Hirschsprung's Disease (HSCR). Testing in human cell lines confirmed that low levels of oxybenzone has the potential to disrupt cell migration and function in a manner similar to what is associated with HSCR. Analysis of human exposure levels to oxybenzone from sunscreen use, under normal conditions, demonstrates that enough chemical can cross into the mother's blood making it available to the fetus at high enough levels that can indeed inhibit migration of neural crest cells during critical embryonic development.

Keywords: Embryogenesis; Hirschsprung’s disease; Inhibition of neural crest cell migration; Oxybenzone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benzophenones / urine*
  • Female
  • Hirschsprung Disease / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sunscreening Agents / analysis*


  • Benzophenones
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • oxybenzone