A US government report questions the safety of chemical filters, and Hawaii could be the first state to ban them.
They have been recommended and used for years to protect skin from cancer, but evidence of their damaging effects is mounting, to the point that the US government”s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned two filters’ chemicals and has asked for more studies to make decisions on 12 others, because there is no evidence that they provide more benefits than risks.
The FDA has reviewed 16 sunscreens and has only ‘saved” two as ‘safe and effective ingredients for use in sunscreens.” They are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are the mineral filters used in certified natural and organic cosmetics. They are the only safe ones, as long as they are not in the form of nanoparticles (they are those of less than 100 nanometers in at least one of their dimensions, which are prohibited in ecological cosmetics).
Two have been proposed for immediate ban due to safety concerns: para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and trolamine salicylate.
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SHOW THE SAFETY OF 12 CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS
The rest, 12 ingredients, have been classified in the so-called “category 3”, which groups those substances on which there is not enough data to consider them safe. The FDA asks the companies that market them to provide this data, if they have it.
The FDA states that at this time it does not know the effect on health of the chemical filters tested. It does not consider them safe, but it also does not prohibit them while waiting to collect more information and recommends that citizens continue to use them in combination with other protection measures.
However, the prohibition process is already underway in the state of Hawaii, where representatives of the Democratic and Republican parties have presented a bill to ban sun creams and cosmetic products that contain them.
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In fact, since 2018 in Hawaii two of them, oxyben zone and octinoxate, have already been banned to avoid their polluting impact on coral reefs.
The ban followed a study in which the Spanish scientist Silvia Cruz, from the CSIC, participated, which demonstrated the toxicity of oxyben zone and octinoxate for corals, fish, sea urchins and algae, as well as for marine mammals and sea turtles.
The example of Hawaii was followed by Palau, Aruba, Bonaire, the Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, and the city of Key West.
THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS ON HEALTH
Silvia Cruz, along with researcher Craig Downs, supports Hawaii”s decision, supported by more than 250 studies that prove the detrimental effect of chemical sunscreens.
The oxyben zone, for example, is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to birth defects, complications of pregnancy and, according to scientists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, breast cancer.
The homosalate can also cause birth defects and avobenzone may cause preeclampsia (placental) at the beginning of pregnancy. Avobenzone also promotes obesity.
THEY COULD BE BANNED IN JANUARY 2021
Silvia Cruz has explained to Cuerpomente that the project has an 80% chance of becoming law in a record time because the problem is very evident and the two parties agree. The ban would be approved in June and take effect on January 1, 2021.
The prohibited chemical sunscreens will be: cinoxate (cinoxate), dioxybenzone (dioxybenzone), ensulizol (ensulizole), homosalate (homosalate), meradimate (meradimate), octinoxate (octinoxate), octisalate (octisalate), octocrylene (octocrylene (padimato), padimato Orylene () padimate O), sulisoben zone (sulisoben zone), oxyben zone (oxyben zone), and avobenzone (avobenzone).
WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS?
In addition to choosing certified natural and ecological sunscreens, other measures to protect yourself from solar radiation are:
- Protect yourself with hats and clothing.
- Avoid direct sun exposure in summer between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear sunglasses.
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