Bad Sunscreen!!!

Sharon - posted on 05/25/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

11,585

12

1314

Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer



WASHINGTON (May 24) -- Almost half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A or its derivatives, according to an evaluation of those products released today.



AOL News also has learned through documents and interviews that the Food and Drug Administration has known of the potential danger for as long as a decade without alerting the public, which the FDA denies.



The study was released with Memorial Day weekend approaching. Store shelves throughout the country are already crammed with tubes, jars, bottles and spray cans of sunscreen.



The white goop, creams and ointments might prevent sunburn. But don't count on them to keep the ultraviolet light from destroying your skin cells and causing tumors and lesions, according to researchers at Environmental Working Group.



In their annual report to consumers on sunscreen, they say that only 39 of the 500 products they examined were considered safe and effective to use.



The report cites these problems with bogus sun protection factor (SPF) numbers:

•The use of the hormone-disrupting chemical oxybenzone, which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream.

•Overstated claims about performance.

•The lack of needed regulations and oversight by the Food and Drug Administration.



But the most alarming disclosure in this year's report is the finding that vitamin A and its derivatives, retinol and retinyl palmitate, may speed up the cancer that sunscreen is used to prevent.





Environmental Working Group

A dangerous additive



The industry includes vitamin A in its sunscreen formulations because it is an anti-oxidant that slows skin aging.



But the EWG researchers found the initial findings of an FDA study of vitamin A's photocarcinogenic properties, meaning the possibility that it results in cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight.



"In that yearlong study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in a vitamin A-laced cream than animals treated with a vitamin-free cream," the report said.



The conclusion came from EWG's analysis of initial findings released last fall by the FDA and the National Toxicology Program, the federal government's principle evaluator of substances that raise public health concerns.



EWG's conclusions were subsequently scrutinized by outside toxicologists.



Based on the strength of the findings by FDA's own scientists, many in the public health community say they can't believe nor understand why the agency hasn't already notified the public of the possible danger.



"There was enough evidence 10 years ago for FDA to caution consumers against the use of vitamin A in sunscreens," Jane Houlihan, EWG's senior vice president for research, told AOL News.



"FDA launched this one-year study, completed their research and now 10 years later, they say nothing about it, just silence."



On Friday, the FDA said the allegations are not true.



"We have thoroughly checked and are not aware of any studies," an FDA spokesperson told AOL News. She said she checked with bosses throughout the agency and found no one who knew of the vitamin A sunscreen research being done by or on behalf of the agency.



But documents from the FDA and the National Toxicology Program showed that the agency had done the research.



"Retinyl palmitate was selected by (FDA's) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for photo-toxicity and photocarcinogenicity testing based on the increasingly widespread use of this compound in cosmetic retail products for use on sun-exposed skin," said an October 2000 report by the National Toxicology Program.



FDA's own website said the animal studies were done at its National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Ark. And it was scientists from the FDA center and National Toxicology Program who posted the study data last fall.



In a perfect world



The ideal sunscreen would completely block the UV rays that cause sunburn, immune suppression and damaging free radicals. It would remain effective on the skin for several hours and not form harmful ingredients when degraded by UV light, the report said.





National Cancer Institute

Graph of melanoma of the skin rates from 1975 to 2006. APC stands for annual percent change and AAPC stands for average annual percent change.

But in the U.S., there is currently no sunscreen that meets all of these criteria. European countries have more chemical combinations to offer, but in the U.S. the major choice is between the "chemical" sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body's hormone systems, and "mineral" sunscreens zinc and titanium dioxide.



Increasingly, as AOL News reported in March, the industry is using titanium dioxide that is made nanosized, which a growing number of researchers believe have serious health implications.



The sunscreen industry cringes when EWG releases its yearly report -- this is its fourth. The industry charges that the advocacy group wants to do away with all sunscreen products, a claim that is not accurate.



The report's researchers clearly say that an effective sunscreen prevents more damage than it causes, but it wants consumers to have accurate information on the limitations of what they buy and on the potentially harmful chemicals in some of those products.



EWG does warn consumers not to depend on any sunscreen for primary protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Hats, clothing and shade are still the most reliable sun protection available, they say.



Don't count on the numbers



Some of us are old enough to remember when the idea of having a tan was good, a sign of health, when billboards and magazine ads featured the Coppertone girl showing off her tan when a puppy pulls down her bathing suit bottom.



Going for that tan, we coated our kids and ourselves with sun blockers with sun protection factors of 1 or 2. Some overly cautious parents might have smeared on a 4 during the hottest part of a day.



But we've learned of the dangers that come from exposure to the sun's rays, especially ultraviolet A and B. So today, drugstore shelves are crammed with sunscreens boasting SPFs of 30, 45, 80 or even higher.



However, the new report says those numbers are often meaningless and dangerous because products with high SPF ratings sell a false sense of security, encouraging people using them to stay out in the sun longer.



"People don't get the high SPF they pay for," the report says. "People apply about a quarter of the recommended amount. So in everyday practice, a product labeled SPF 100 really performs like SPF 3.2, an SPF 30 rating equates to a 2.3 and an SPF 15 translates to 2."



In 2007, the report says, the FDA published proposed regulations that would prohibit manufacturers from labeling sunscreens with an SPF higher than "SPF 50." The agency wrote that higher values would be "inherently misleading," given that "there is no assurance that the specific values themselves are in fact truthful."



This is being widely ignored by the sunscreen makers who are heavily advertising their 80, 90 and 100 SPF products.



"Flouting FDA's proposed regulation," companies substantially increased their high-SPF offerings in 2010 with one in six brands now listing SPF values higher than 50. "Neutrogena and Banana Boat stand out among the offenders, with six and four products labeled as 'SPF 100,' respectively," the new report says.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

21 Comments

View replies by

Caitlin - posted on 05/27/2010

1,915

5

171

The only reason i'm switching my sunscreen is becasue I put it on my daughter for the second time today and she had an extreme eczema flare up (it had perfume in it, I guess I dind't notice) Poor girl spent the whole evening slathered in cream and medicated to reduce the itching.

Sunny - posted on 05/27/2010

662

21

53

Well im from Australia, where the sun is bloody hot! lol I had skin cancer at age 9! Spent my 10th b'day in hospital recovering from another surgery! I wear sunscreen every day now and im 21 and am still in the all clear. The chance of getting cancer from the sun out weights getting it from the sunscreen for me! :)

Sharon - posted on 05/26/2010

11,585

12

1314

In my 20's my best friend & I had the same heritage, asian/white.



I don't smoke and didn't often lay out in the sun



She was an avid smoker and one of the top sun worshippers. We parted ways when drugs became a priority for her. I ran into her about 7 years after that... I have an old leather bomber jacket that is more attractive than her skin. It was heartbreaking to me see her fall so far.



I moisturize multiple times a day with GOOD moisturizer. A good cream at night for my face and I take care of any problem patches asap. I've always been delicate with my eyes.



I find stress & tension are leaving their marks and now I'm fighting those too. People can't guess my age and I won't tell!

Krista - posted on 05/26/2010

12,562

16

842

Good to know about those other sunscreens -- I was pleased to see that the stuff we use for Sam is on the "safe" list.

But yeah, I'll definitely continue slapping on the sunblock and shunning the tanning bed. I know some hardcore tanners too, and they're going to look like Keith Richards' scrotum by the time they're 45.

Charlie - posted on 05/26/2010

11,203

111

401

It does look like they have been rolling around in a bag of cheetohs .

LaCi - posted on 05/26/2010

3,361

3

171

Loreen, its so weird to see the people I grew up with looking like leather already. I've been dark most of my life, until recently. Natural sun and such, but all these people who bake in the tanning salons everyday, WOW. Crazy. I don't know why anyone would do that. But they're all SO proud of that dark, orange, unnatural looking tan they have. Anyway... off topic lol.

Charlie - posted on 05/26/2010

11,203

111

401

Apart from cancer i have more vain reasons like not looking like a leathery old sea turtle when im 40 Lo L.

Sharon - posted on 05/26/2010

11,585

12

1314

For sure I didn't post this so you guys would dump your sunscreen.

What bothered me was the lack of honesty from the sunscreen corps.

There are good ones, follow the links. I'll be ditching my naughty sunscreens and buying one that works and tells the truth.

Charlie - posted on 05/26/2010

11,203

111

401

Damned if you do , damned if you dont hey !

In Australia we have extremely harsh sun , some of the strongest rays in the world , the chance of getting skin cancer is almost certain for most people at some stage of their life , i dare say it would out way cancer caused by sunscreen , considering i had several friends have melanomas cut out in high school and almost everyone i know over 40 has had them cut out as well .

We only buy toddler , cancer council approved sunscreen for Cooper , i wont be stopping putting it on him or myself , as for it not completely blocking the suns rays , well thats a good thing we still need some sunlight .

[deleted account]

Dear god it seems like every thing we do these days gives us cancer and if it doesnt give us cancer it sends us all senile. We should all just stop eating, drinking, putting things on our skin and go live in a cave somewhere not wearing any clothes or having anything to do with plastic stuff lol. Seriously though is someone trying to kill us with all the crap they put in that gives us cancer? They been telling us for years to slap this cream on to stop skin cancer and then lo and behold the cream will give us cancer instead?

?? - posted on 05/26/2010

4,974

0

171

I use an all natural cream that my friend recommended to me. It's the equivalent to 50 SPF sunscreen without the added crap that usually irritates sensitive skin. Gabriel and his daddy are both whitey white albino white. Devon rarely tans let alone burns though. And he works outdoors all summer long doing construction. I on the other hand have a fair complexion and I tan without trying. I VERY rarely burn, but it takes less than 20 minutes in the sun for me to get darker.

I have no idea how Gabriel's skin will react to the sun so until he can make his own choices and is able to soothe his own sunburn that he got cause of his own decision - I will be slathering him with the cream to make sure his whitey white albino white skin, stays whitey white albino white and so I don't have to worry about dealing with a beyond energetic 18 month old with a sun burn!

LaCi - posted on 05/26/2010

3,361

3

171

Yeah, I only use on Nico when we go out for VERY long stretches, because I don't know if his skin is un-burnable like mine, or superburnable like his daddys.. Hours and hours at the zoo and such on high UV days. I never use it on myself. I've never had a sunburn so I never saw a need since you're damned if you do, damned it you don't in the cancer department.

Celia - posted on 05/26/2010

229

12

14

I will still use it every time I go to the beach or am outside with my son for long periods. We are white as rice and burn to a crisp plus Melanoma runs in my family so cancer one way or another I guess.

Jenny - posted on 05/26/2010

4,426

16

126

I've never been real strict about sunscreen either. I never use it on myself and only sporadically on the kids when it's a beach day or they are in the sun all day. I've never trusted slathering chemicals on my body.

Krista - posted on 05/26/2010

12,562

16

842

Cripes, yet another thing that gives us cancer. I swear, it's enough to make me want to take up smoking again.

Jocelyn - posted on 05/26/2010

5,165

42

274

Interesting. I won't give up my sunscreen tho. I'm one of those "outside for 10 minutes and burned to a crisp" people. I'm not trying to stave off cancer, I'm trying to prevent burning and therefore prevent the pain. And I like to be pale lol.

LaCi - posted on 05/26/2010

3,361

3

171

Also- sunscreens generally only block out the radiation that would cause basal and squamous cell carcinomas which are very easily removed and the cure rate is like 98%. This is the same as cancers associate with sunburns. You (generally) need to opaque gross goo to block out the other type which causes melanoma (caused by the radiation that doesn't cause a burn and might kill you), which has more of the carcinogenic chemicals and metals than plain sunscreen, mor ein broad spectrum sunscreens as well. It's a lose lose situation. I found a nice natural health article if anyone is a filthy hippie like me ;)

http://www.naturalnews.com/021903.html



"The scientific evidence, however, shows quite clearly that sunscreen actually promotes cancer by blocking the body's absorption of ultraviolet radiation, which produces vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D, as recent studies have shown, prevents up to 77 of ALL cancers in women (breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, brain tumors, multiple myeloma... you name it). Meanwhile, the toxic chemical ingredients used in most sunscreen products are actually carcinogenic and have never been safety tested or safety approved by the FDA. They get absorbed right through the skin (a porous organ that absorbs most substances it comes into contact with) and enter the bloodstream."

ME - posted on 05/26/2010

2,978

18

190

I have the Jason's Organic for my kiddos...but this STILL upsets me...it's so frustrating when you think you are doing the right thing, and the information is all wrong...

LaCi - posted on 05/26/2010

3,361

3

171

Hah. glad I don't bother with sunscreen. I read, not too long ago, that the ingredients it says may pose health threats- titanium dioxide, etc, that give most screens their spf are believed to be carcinogenic. though it hasn't been provenyet ;) I'll just take my sunlight over metals and chemicals, thanks.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms