Dark Side of Sunscreen


A recent study by the CDC shows that 97% of all Americans are contaminated with a toxic chemical called oxybenzone (benzophenone-3, BP-3). Oxybenzone is an ingredient found in many of the most popular sunscreens. This chemical is primarily used to absorb UV-ultraviolet rays.

Oxybenzone is a derivative of benzophenone, which is known to attack DNA when illuminated. This organic compound penetrates into the skin and acts as a photosensitizer, where it increases the development of free radicals under illumination.
These free radicals increase the pre-mature aging of the skin while also becoming a photocarcinogen.

A 2006 study by the University of California, “Free Radical Biology and Medicine,” showed that the longer oxybenzone and two other sunscreen chemicals remained on the skin, the
more free radical damage occurred.

“We don’t need to have sunscreens that end up in the blood of a kid,” says Richard Wiles,
co-founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington-based nonprofit. EWG’s researchers say some sunscreens are better than others and operate a database of cosmetic products vetted for potential health hazards. You can look up a specific sunscreen or other products at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.

Though at first glance this may seem a significant health hazard, Dr. Calafat of the CDC and the senior authors of the CDC study states, “the presence of a chemical in the body, at the levels that we saw, doesn’t mean that chemical is causing adverse health effects.”
Also John Bailey, chief scientist of the Personal Care Products Council, a trade association representing sunscreen and other cosmetic manufacturers says, “these are very, very low levels, below levels that may be showing effects in animal or cell structure testing.

The FDA does not actually test or approve sunscreen products. It lets the industry monitor itself and acts as a penalizing or police force when a health hazard arises, which means that people have already become sick or suffered the ill effects of a product
before any actions are taken.

What we do know is that UV radiation from the sun damages our skin and is the leading cause of skin cancer. Over one million new skin cancers were reported in 2007. It is prudent to wear some sort of protection when performing activities outdoors. The EWG has determined that mineral sunscreens have the best safety profile of today’s choices. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin. They offer UVA
protection, which is sorely lacking in most of today’s sunscreen products.

Reference: Health – 418

Categories : Uncategorized

Leave a Reply