|Sunscreen Schishms Revisited|
With more glorious warm days ahead of us, time to remind ourselves of the importance of using natural sunscreens. Evidence has shown that several common sunscreen chemicals have toxic or adverse effects on human health.
Extensive research has shown that a number of UV filters frequently used in commercial sunscreens (e.g. 4-MBC, octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), octyl-dimethyl-PABA) possess endocrine-disrupter activity, that is, they interfere with our own hormone action and production.
Endocrine disrupters have been implicated in the development of a number of diseases including reproductive cancers, as well as the abnormal development of the male reproductive system.
In one study, the application of oxybezone, 4-MBC and oxtinoxate for one week led to a drop in testosterone and oestradiol levels in men. And even more worrying is that these chemicals have been found in breast milk at concentrations known to have oestrogenic effects. Moreover, a large proportion of active ingredients in sunscreens act as penetration enhancers to accelerate chemical absorption. Not good.
Recently many of you have probably heard of the attempt to nano-size particles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to avoid the white paste residue. However, these ultra-fine particles may increase the risk of forming hydroxyl radicals ultimately damaging DNA.
We need to seek out safer alternatives, and look for sunscreens that resemble a food item rather than a complex toxic chemical equation. (Friends of the Earth have a paper available on-line. “Nanotechnology Project” well worth reading.)