Benzophenone 4 is used to prevent ultraviolet light from damaging scents and colors in products such as perfumes and soaps.
This allows the manufacturer to package the product in clear glass or plastic. Without it, opaque or dark packaging would be used.
It can also be added to the plastic packaging as a UV blocker.
It is also sometimes used as a flavoring agent.
Ultraviolet light is often divided into two types, UV-A, which has a longer wavelength (320-360nm) and UV-B, which has a shorter wavelength (280-320nm). Shorter wavelengths mean higher energies. UV-B is more damaging than UV-A. Some UV blockers are optimized to block the shorter wavelengths, while letting the longer wavelengths get through.
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