Massive coastal tourism influx to the Mediterranean Sea: The environmental risk of sunscreens
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The Mediterranean region is, by far, the leading tourism destination in the world, receiving more than 330 million tourists in 2016. This tourism is undertaken mostly for seaside holidays, and during the summer season concentrates between 46% and 69% of the total international arrivals; this is equivalent to a density of 2.9 tourists per meter of Mediterranean coast, or double this number taking into account the local/permanent population in addition. Previous studies have reported not only the presence of sunscreen in the various environmental compartments (water, sediments and biota) of the Mediterranean Sea (MS) and other regions, but also show that sunscreen products are toxic for marine biota and are accumulated and biomagnificated. Here, we highlight that the environmental risk of these chemicals is likely to be exacerbated in the MS due to the massive influx of tourists and its densely populated coasts, the basin's limited exchanges with the ocean, the high residence time of surface waters, and its oligotrophic waters.
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