Monday, July 5, 2010

More Information on Buying Safe Sunscreen: Read the Label

The safest sunscreen is one which is mineral based containing only non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc. FREE FROM:
  • oxybenzone
  • octinoxate
  • PABA,
  • retinyl palmate (vitamin A) (1)(2)
  • parabens such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben which are used as preservatives in many products. (3) Parabens are of most concern when used in products which remain on your skin such as lotions and sunscreens.
  • nano scale minerals (4).
Often, you need to carefully examine the label, as even brands which make the safer products listed here, can also make a product containing the unsafe ingredients. And even the so called "safe" active ingredients in the sunscreens recommended as "safer" have really troubling safety profiles, when you look closely at the ingredient link on Environmental Working Group. So much so, that in Vermont, the camp my niece goes to has a sign that looks very much like a no smoking sign only in place of cigarettes is a tube of sunscreen. The sign says "If you are opposed to sunscreen, please let us know."

The ONLY "active ingredients" should be:
ZINC OXIDE (sunscreen grade > 100nm) or non-nano particles. The reason that you want the zinc to be greater than 100 nm, is that nano scale minerals are thought to be unsafe by some consumer safety groups.

And, Green Living Q&A has a great thread about sunscreens which mentions that many sunscreens, even those marketed to babies like California Baby contain questionable ingredients.

The best way to avoid nano scale minerals is to look on the label. Having nano scale minerals does make sunscreen easier to spread and absorb so you don't look like you are covered in white cream, but this same ability to be absorbed also means that these minerals can be absorbed into organs and tissues making their safety profile uncertain at this time. (5) If you have purchased nano products already, you can use them up, but I wouldn't seen out or continue to buy products using this technology until we know more about them. has a great list of 23 natural sunscreens.

But I would caution parents to look carefully at the ingredient list to make sure if they buy California Baby brand they don't have nano scale ingredients in them, when possible.

Oxford Journal of Toxicological Sciences says:

"nanomaterial safety data are limited. Until such time as the exposures, hazards, and environmental life cycle of nanomaterials have been more clearly defined, cautious development and implementation of nanotechnology is the most prudent course." (4)

Scientific American also has an article about how nano particles are bad for the environment.



Kari said...

Totally OT on this post, but I wanted to share a huge thing in our house. I have personally decided to go GF. I have had the symptoms of my PCOS come back, with a vengence. I know this means medications and a low carb diet. I started to research about all of my options (now that I am much more educated on the alternative therapies we so often overlook) and found overwhelming evidence that a GF diet works wonders, usually with no help from medications needed.

So, your help that you have given me over the last year with my son will now pay off in my life. Of course, this is all easier with my finding Udi's bread. Hehehe, it's my new favorite thing.

I figured I had two choices. I could take Metformin/Glucophage and give up all bread or I could go GF, stay off the meds (hopefully) and be able to at least eat GF breads. Can you tell I am a bread lover?

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