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The Hazards of Sunscreen - Endocrine Disruptors

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Are You Exposing Your Family To Dangerous Chemicals

Trying To Protect Them From The Sun?

Protect You & Your Family From The Hazards in Sunscreen
Protect You & Your Family From The Hazards in Sunscreen

Everyone wants to protect themselves and their families from the sun, but are you doing it safely? If the sunscreen you are using is loaded with dangerous toxins, which most are, you might be protecting yourself from harmful UV rays but exposing yourself to a whole list of poisons that easily absorb right through your skin instead. Severe sunburn isn’t a great alternative so what’s the best answer?

First of all, sun exposure is good for you – and your kids. For all of human history, we lived and worked OUTSIDE. In the sun. Without Coppertone. Yep – believe it or not. And, no one had skin cancer. How is that possible? People were smart. They wore clothes – covering their skin when the sun’s rays were hot. They focused their time outdoors to morning and late afternoon/evening, avoiding the mid-day rays. The direct UV exposure people did get provided them with valuable vitamin D. I would argue sunscreen is rarely necessary but when it is, it’s important to educate yourself on what’s safe to put on your skin and what is not.

Every year, nearly 80 new sunscreens go on the market - the majority have high SPFs greater than 50+. Sounds good right? Nope. This is what the industry has led us to believe, contrary to what science tells us. The billions spent annually “educating” consumers on the risks of skin cancer and other dangers that sun exposure can cause are misleading and, in some cases, just outright lies. Let’s play two truths and a lie:

· Higher SPF offers more protection.

· Higher SPF protects you from UVA and UVB radiation.

· UVA is known to accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer.

If you said the lie is, “Higher SPF protects you from UVA and UVB radiation”, you are correct! Higher SPF protects you against UVB radiation and prevents a miserable sunburn BUT it leaves you exposed to UVA radiation which penetrates deep into your skin. UVA radiation does what? Causes skin cancer. The marketing most people have bought into is the belief that sunscreen protects you from cancer and saves lives. We know differently.

Another misconception is the safety of the chemicals used to make sunscreen. Do you know what oxybenzone, avobenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, and octisalate are? Probably not, why would you? Who can even pronounce those words? These are toxic chemicals found in many sunscreens that are known hormone and endocrine disruptors. Your skin is your largest organ and it is porous. Everything you put on your skin enters your bloodstream. But it doesn’t stop there. Oxybenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene have been found in the breastmilk of nursing mothers indicating exposure goes beyond the first point of contact. Government studies have found as much as 97 percent of the US population has detectable levels of oxybenzone in their bloodstream leading to estrogen dominance and decreased birth weight.

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is in place to protect us as consumers by having strict regulations in place for sunscreens and their contents. Right. The FDA applies the label GRASE (“generally recognized as safe and effective”) to small amounts of just about any potential toxin. As long as the concentration is 0.5 nanograms per milliliter or less, it’s “GRASE”. In other words, ‘we know it’s poisonous – but it’s just a little bit of poison’. While the potential risk may sound minuscule, what are the cumulative effects of using toxic chemicals in sunscreen over a lifetime? Or over your children’s lifetime?


Example:

  • Plasma concentrations of oxybenzone were more than 180 times the level of concern after A SINGLE application of sunscreen.

  • Four days of consecutive use of the same sunscreen resulted in plasma concentrations of oxybenzone that were more than 500 times what the FDA says is “safe and effective”.

You can see where this is misleading to consumers. But not all sunscreens are created equally or in this case, equally harmful. This is true of other “safer” alternatives. Mineral powder SPF sunscreens contain other compounds that do not occur in nature with many made from petroleum. The chemicals in the tiny particles that enter your airways move from your lungs to your bloodstream. The same is true for aerosol sunscreens. While some ingredients like titanium dioxide may offer strong UV protection, the particles themselves are dangerous and cause significant damage when accumulated over time – like brain lesions and other tissue damage.

Be wary of products which advertise, “doesn’t breakdown”. These contain chemicals that don’t breakdown in the sun, however, they also DON’T BREAK DOWN, EVER! These products use stabilizing additives (yes, more chemicals) to prevent breakdown of other chemicals in your sunscreen. Despite these additives, these sunscreens still don’t last forever on your skin, no sunscreen does. The result is the same, you are slathering your largest organ with toxic chemicals that make their way into your bloodstream putting your health at risk. There has been growing concern among consumers who are demanding the FDA impose tougher sunscreen standards despite failing to finalize safety standards that were first promised in 1978. This allows sunscreen manufacturers to keep marketing unsubstantiated claims and build their multi-billion-dollar industry. More and more products continue to hit the shelves that have harmful chemicals, untested ingredients, and fail to adequately protect while increasing potential for health issues due to chemical exposure. Currently, more than 1,000 brand-name sunscreen products fail to adequately protect consumers. The Environmental Working Group The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a not-for-profit organization aimed at helping consumers make informed choices to better live a healthy life in a healthy environment. Since 1993, EWG has been shining a spotlight on “outdated legislation, harmful agricultural practices, and industry loopholes that pose a risk to our health and the health of our environment.” EWG works in communities across America and on Capitol Hill changing the debate and advocating improved environmental health.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 85 percent of sunscreen products with an SPF rating of 15 or higher offer inadequate protection from UV rays or have ingredients that either are known health hazards or have not been tested for safety. EWG has released an in-depth analysis of safety and effectiveness of more than 700 name-brand sunscreen products. This analysis discovered 84% of the 785 sunscreen products with an SPF rating of 15 or higher offer inadequate protection from UV rays or contain ingredients with safety concerns. EWGs database is available to the public to “help fill the information gap caused by the FDA’s failure to set meaningful sunscreen standards.” This database lists “products that offer the best combination of safety and effectiveness, are formulated with the safest chemicals, are most protective against sunburn, and help prevent long-term damage caused by the sun’s UVA rays which are linked to skin aging, wrinkling and, potentially, cancer. For a detailed list, visit the EWG’s cosmetic database and list of sunscreens.

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