Chemical sunscreens getting a closer look

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 10:21 am

SARASOTA. Fla. -- Sun lovers may have to read labels more carefully. Consumer Reports advises against spray-on sunscreen for children until the FDA completes a new study.

Many use sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays; we check for SPF and make sure there are certain ingredients. But now that skin cancer protection may come with a price of other health risks.

Mother of four Angie Hines uses protective clothing and products to keep her kids safe from the sun. “Most of the time, the Water Babies lotion; or sometimes the Badger Balm, which is an organic sunscreen product.”

But if she runs out, she says, she uses whatever's available, including sprays. “The Coppertone, and what other ones? I think that's really the main one that we use.”

Although she hasn’t heard of new health risks associated with spray sunscreens, she says she wouldn’t be surprised.

“Sunscreens, specifically spray sunscreens, are pushed out of the container by compressed gas.” Dr. Eva Berkes of the Hawthorne Clinic and Research Center, two commonly used ingredients are liquid petroleum and alcohol, which can be inhaled. “If you have a tendency towards asthma, any irritating gas can trigger it.”

The other major issue is nanoparticles, the physical stuff that blocks out sunrays, says Dr. Berkes, and they are unregulated. “Nanoparticles have been associated with developmental issues.”

So what is the safer choice? You want to see the sunscreen. “Non-nanoparticle sunscreens will be white. So if you find an invisible sunscreen, don’t use it.”

Jack Shoustal and Gayle Stauffer use sunscreen, both spray and lotion. “I have to because I'm fair skinned, and I actually put an SPF of 50 on and try to block as much as I can,” says Shoustal.

Both are surprised to learn of latest possible health risks linked to sunscreens, including endometriosis and development of tumors and lesions. “That’s amazing, because that’s why you’re putting it on, to try to prevent some of that stuff.”

Registered pharmacist Mike Pass says ingredients like Oxybenzone may cause damage and be toxic to the endocrine system. “The reproductive organs are definitely affected, in both men and women by the way.”

Retinyl palmitate is virtually non-existant says Pass, but most creams, lotions and sprays contain Oxybenzone.

Another concern is most sunscreens contain chemicals that act like BPA, and BPA is being withdrawn from the market because of its harmful effects.

For more information on ingredients and product ratings visit Environmental Working Group.org.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Featured Health Care Providers Sponsored directory

SPORTS MEDICINE

John T. Moor, MD

View Profile >

PROSTATE CANCER

Michael J. Dattoli, MD

View Profile >

CARDIOLOGY - CROUCH

F. Michael Crouch, M.D.

View Profile >

PRIMARY CARE

Jack E. Baron, MD

View Profile >

INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGIST

Gerald Grubbs, MD

View Profile >

GERIATRICS

Dr. Sarah Kagan, PhD, RN, FAAN

View Profile >

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.