Common sunscreen chemicals may increase your risk for serious types of cancer.
Yeah, you heard me, Common sunscreen chemicals may actually INCREASE your risk for major cancer types — think breast cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. Great. Why am I always the bearer of such bad news?
I really try not to dwell on the negative. Seriously. That's not my game. But you need to know, before you slather on the white stuff this summer — on you and your children, I might add — that there are better alternatives out there, sunscreens that don't contain DDT, dioxin and PCBs, all of which are in common sunscreens and can actually do more harm than good. As you'll see, I'm not suggesting you go without. I'm not even suggesting you skip buying that pool pass this year. What I will show you is that there are responsible sunscreen brands out there that don't contain these nasty chemicals, chemicals that can not only increase your risk for other types of cancer (and some studies argue whether traditional sunscreen really even protects you from skin cancer or not) but can also cause migraines, uterine cysts and low sperm counts.
All sunscreens are not created equal. I know this may trigger you to immediately think of the SPF rating on the bottle, but even that doesn't tell you much. Unless you're buying a broad-spectrum sunscreen, first of all, your trusty little bottle of Coppertone is only protecting you from UVB rays, not UVA rays, which are most certainly linked to cancer. Even baby sunscreens often contain chemicals that should never be rubbed all over a child's skin; some companies have even been sued in class-action lawsuits for false advertising. "Applying liberally," often found as an instruction on the bottle, may lead you to be spreading hormone disruptors all over your skin, absorbing every last chemical that seeps in.
Don't despair, however — the EWG comes through again, with a list of more than 1,800 safe, reliable and protective sunscreens to choose from without oxybenzone, powdered versions of titanium dioxide (which can be carcinogenic when inhaled) and other nanoparticles that can be dangerous when found in makeup with SFP protection.
So before you go to the beach or the pool this year, and I know we're all getting anxious for hotter weather, pick a safe sunscreen off of their list. Continue to read labels if you want to avoid things like beeswax or fragrance and still read the instructions and apply as necessary if you're in and out of the water. This way, you'll be protecting you and your family from both skin cancer and other cancer types you'd be putting yourself at risk for by using something off the drugstore shelf without being aware of potential dangers.
Next up: Making Vegetables Center Stage