Put down that Sunscreen
Unintended Human Health Consequences from Frequent Sunscreen Application
by Pat Bradford
From CNN to local news anchors, the news media is abuzz this summer with reports of the potential hazard of using sunscreen.
Chemicals in these products are absorbed through the skin and lips, and aerosol sprays can be inhaled into the body and are showing up in blood, breast milk and urine samples.
No one is sure how these chemicals may negatively affect health, but concerns include hormone or endocrine disruption.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued a 2019 notice to the sunscreen industry; it wanted more information about the ingredients in sunscreens. It is proposing changes in how sunscreen ingredients are evaluated for safety.
"The one thing I would say to people is, the very thing that we are putting on our bodies to protect us from the sun and skin cancer could actually increase my risk," says Amy Gordon, who uses the American activist Environmental Working Group (EWG) resources and its site in her work with Beauty Counter to educate people about safer products, and to lobby to change the law to make safer products. The laws have not changed since 1938, Gordon says. Skin cancer, melanoma, is one leading cause of death. Her company also markets a line of sunscreens and beauty products.
The FDA has noted just two mineral active ingredients -- zinc oxide and titanium dioxide -- as found to be safe.
Under the FDA's regulatory microscope is the skin's increased absorption of the UV filter oxybenzone, especially in children. Oxybenzone is a chemical ingredient in sunscreens and cosmetics.
Other ingredients are inactive ingredients which make up 50 to 70 percent of a sunscreen, says EWG.
Since 2007, EWG has published an annual Guide to Sunscreens. The searchable 2019 Guide to Sunscreens with ratings for 755 beach and sport sunscreens can be found on its website: www.EWG.org/sunscreen/
Who'd Have Guessed?...
That slathering copious amounts of sunscreen on exposed skin could be harmful?
Instead of Sunscreen:
Wear shirts, hats, shorts and pants to shield skin from harmful UV rays.
Don't be out in the middle part of the day -- go early or late.
Find or create shade.
Avoid getting burned.
Always wear sunglasses.
Check UV index before beginning outdoor activities.
A Match Made in the Garden
by Pat Bradford
Every year the Cape Fear Garden Club bestows three awards for outstanding landscape in the greater Wilmington area.
The Beauty Spot, as the award is called, is given for the categories of neighborhood, business and residence.
In June the Cape Fear Garden Club awarded its Beauty Spot prize to the Harbor Island Garden Club's Harbor Way Garden.
"Wrightsville Beach's Harborway Garden is truly the entrance to all the neighborhoods at Wrightsville Beach," says Wayne Grimes of the Cape Fear Garden Club.
Grimes, chairperson for the Beauty Spot awards, says last September's hurricane was actually the catalyst for the club receiving the award.
"They turned a tragedy into a blessing in that garden," Grimes says. Hurricane Florence destroyed a great deal of the garden.
Harbor Island Garden Club volunteers were literally in tears, just overwhelmed by the destruction. Club members reached out to people everywhere to help. And the Cape Gear Garden Club was among those responding.
"You wouldn't believe the response," Grimes says. "There was a lot of coming together, a lot of interaction."
Friendships formed. The garden became a popular stop on the Cape Fear Club's annual Azalea Festival Garden Tour in May, receiving rave reviews. -- Pat Bradford