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Some thoughts from Tara and Henry…

Sunscreen safety

Boy this is a hot topic. On one hand you don’t want to get sunburned and on the other you don’t want to take a chemical bath. Never mind the interference with vitamin D absorption. It is really challenging to know what sunscreen is the safest to use, especially on our children. I have come across an excellent resource from the Environmental Working Group which has a EWG 2010 Sunscreen Guide. This is a great resource as you can look up your current sunscreen and see its rating, as well as see the top rated sunscreens. Unfortunately, it is a US based group but many of the products are available here in Canada. One of the top ones available here is Badger Sunscreen SPF 30. Not only does it have an a good rating for UVA and UVB protection but it’s health concern is rated low. One of the worst from their hall of shame is Panama Jack Naturals Baby Sunblock SPF 50. This one actually contains a potential hormone disruptor oxybenzone – in a baby sunscreen!

I also really liked the nine surprising truths about sunscreens. There were things like – too little sun might be harmful and decrease vitamin D levels. Hurray! People are paying attention. It is also debatable whether the usage of sunscreens actually prevent skin cancer. One of the things that I found quite interesting is that sunscreens may actually increase the risk of melanoma, which is the most deadliest form of skin cancer.
Surprisingly, as someone with fair skin I rarely use sunscreen. I prefer to stay in the shade and wear a big hat when I am outside. If I am going to be going to the beach or spending the entire day out gardening I will use some but I don’t do it daily. Sometimes the SPF is deceiving, the high number actually gives you the false sense of security against getting burned. My kids are blessed with a darker complexion then me but we all wear hats and avoid the midday sun.
That all being said I am going to throw out my old “natural sunscreen” which received a lousy rating from the EWG report and go and buy some Badger!

2 comments…
  • Chuck Bluestein October 18, 2010, 9:30 pm

    Hi, I saw you on Twitter. When money is involved, you must look for the con. The philanthropist Bernie Madoff, conned people out of billions of dollars. Have you heard that Chelsea Clinton got married? Her husband has a father that was a congressman. He got out of federal prison in 2009 after years in there for conning people out of millions of dollars. The problem with sunlight is that it is free.

    You can get UV-A light all day but that does not give you vitamin D. To get vitamin D you need the UV-B light that you get during midday. In the latitude of Boston there are 3 months where you cannot get any vitamin D from sunlight for 3 months. At the latitude of Montreal there are 6 months of the year, where you can get no vitamin D from the sun. But people can take supplements.

  • Chuck Bluestein October 18, 2010, 9:42 pm

    It is a shame that common sense is not common. Here is proof that exercise is bad for you. How do you exercise. With no exercise at all, go out and run and marathon. Then you may die and prove that exercise is bad for you. But that is not common sense. You go to your doctor and get permission and if you get it, you need to start off low and build gradually.

    Say you fast for a month and break it with a big steak dinner. There is a good chance that you will die. With your digestive system like a baby, you need to start with little and build gradually. This is common sense. So if you have fair skin then fly down to near the equater and stay in the sun all day in a bathing suit. You will get 3rd degree burns all over and die. That proves that sunlight is bad for you. So it water. Drink too much at one time and it will kill you.

    But sunlight is not bad for people with common sense. They can control their exposure so that their skin darkens gradually and they can get longer and longer exposure without putting chemicals on their skin. The 4 excretory organs are the liver, lungs, kidneys and skin. the skin is the biggest. Putting chemicals on it interfere with its job.

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