PUT DOWN THAT SUNSCREEN
Unintended Human Health Consequences from Frequent Sunscreen Application
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 bod-ies
to protect us from the sun and skin cancer could actually increase my risk,” says Amy
who’d have guessed?
THAT SLATHERING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF SUNSCREEN ON EXPOSED SKIN COULD BE HARMFUL
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 ingredi-ents
— 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 oxyben-zone,
especially in children. Oxybenzone is a chemi-cal
ingredient in sunscreens and cosmetics.
Other ingredients are inactive ingredients which make up 50 to 70 percent of a sun-screen,
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
— Pat Bradford
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S H O R T S H O R T S • •
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
MATTHEW HURST /FLIKR