Subject: Sunscreens Simplified ~ hands off the hormones pls!

Sunscreens Simplified ~ hands off the hormones pls!

Rashes and burns from Banana Boat sunscreen hit the headlines earlier this year flaming many more complaints. How could a product made to prevent burns be harmful? Sunscreens often have long lists of complex chemical ingredients, so, how do we avoid scalding reactions and choose the best for ourselves and our families?
First of all, although sunburns clearly cause skin damage, premature aging and increased cancer risk, we don’t have direct evidence that sunscreens themselves prevent cancer. In fact, sun exposure is the quickest, most effective way to boost vitamin D levels, and low vitamin D definitely increases cancer risk. So, we need some sun, but burns (particularly in childhood) are not only uncomfortable, they can lead to skin cancer. Working outdoors, and during holidays at the beach or on the water, the first lines of defense are shade, clothing, hats and sunglasses. Sunscreen can help prevent burns too.

Faced with vast shelves of sunscreen with unpronounceable ingredients, how do you choose the safest product? Actually, the choice is choice is clear.

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The essential ingredients, that absorb or deflect the ultraviolet light that causes cancer are either carbon-based chemicals that absorb ultraviolet (UV) light, or reflective minerals.
UV absorbing chemicals (UV filters) are complex chemicals that all have unfortunate structural similarities to hormones. Despite scientific gaps, there is strong cause for concern. “Endocrine disrupting chemicals” (EDCs) block or mimic hormone actions and can not only contribute to cancer, they may affect reproduction, metabolism (obesity and diabetes) and child/adolescent development. Although we have little direct science in humans, UV filters permeate the body and are even found in the placenta. UV filters accumulate in water, sewage sludge and sediments, bioaccumulate in fatty tissues, and are pollutants of “emerging concern.” Flies called ‘midges’ do not develop properly with sunscreen at environmentally relevant concentrations. Coral reefs are harmed too. UV filters exert hormonal effects in mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and insects, and mixtures can also act in concert, according to a 2016 review. These are big red flags!
Most importantly, this is a hazard we have no need to encounter – there are alternatives.
Mineral sun blocks include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

is not an essential mineral, particles do not readily dissolve, and very tiny (nano scale) particles can eventually migrate into cells, where they do not belong.
Again, this is a hazard we have no need to encounter – there is an alternative.

Zinc oxide
is an essential mineral, and if particles make their way into the water or into body tissues, they simply dissolve and are handled through normal bodily processes.
Choose zinc!

Bottom line: Choose a product that contains zinc oxide as the sunscreen ingredient, with inert, vegetable based cream. A DIY alternative can be made by melting zinc oxide cream for babies’ bottoms (sometimes called Ihle’s Paste) with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, beeswax and even some aloe vera. There are lots of recipes on the internet (email us your favourite!). The only problem is that it tends to sit on skin, making your skin look pale.
Can you help revive paler skin as a fashion trend? 
Cancer prevention is in style!
Sunscreens are but one of many sources of EDCs, but they slip through the cracks - our laws to not protect Canadians. Prevent Cancer Now is working hard to have EDCs dealt with in a new Canadian Environmental Protection Act

See our submissions regarding the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the example of flame retardants, and a Roadmap for Action on EDCs.
Tell your MP, that this is important to you!
You can prevent cancer too!

Prevent Cancer Now works to eliminate preventable contributors to cancer, through research, education and advocacy. We are supported by individuals’ donations, from people like you. Please consider donating today.
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