You may want to think twice before you slather on the sunscreen this summer – or any time of year – as chances are you’re exposing yourself to numerous toxic chemicals, which are linked to a whole host of health problems, each time you apply it.
For example, regular use of sunscreens that contain the chemical psoralen more than doubles the risk of skin cancer on average and increases it four and a half times for people who don’t tan easily.
Another sunscreen chemical, called PBSA, was found to damage DNA in laboratory tests and the sunscreen chemical octyl methoxycinnamate (which is in more than 90 per cent of sunscreens) quickly kills animal cells exposed to light.
Unlike food and drug manufacturers, the cosmetics and beauty products industry is free to use thousands of synthetic chemicals in everything from sunscreen and toothpaste to lipstick and mascara.
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health: “The average person is exposed to more than a hundred chemicals from cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care products before leaving the house in the morning. While people may assume these products are safe, their chemical ingredients are mostly untested and largely unregulated, with even known carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals still found in some formulations.”
Another potentially harmful ingredient found in many suntan products and other toiletries is the antimicrobial triclosan. It is often used as preservative in water-based formulations – such as deodorants, body sprays and personal cleanliness products – to extend their shelf life, as triclosan is extremely effective in slowing or halting bacterial growth. As an antibacterial agent, tricolsan is frequently added to toothpastes, antibacterial hand washes and topical antiseptic products for wound care.
However, several studies have shown that triclosan may cause endocrine disruption in low amounts and possibly even affect fertility and sexual development.
The worrying thing is that many of these products are used by people on a daily basis, meaning that they can quickly have a cumulative effect.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed tricolsan, and another antimicrobial triclocaron, from soaps last year, and scientists are now calling for stricter regulations around the world concerning its use. For example, popular toothpaste brand Colgate Total contains triclosan.
I won’t hold my breath that harmful ingredients like triclosan will be removed from personal care products and cosmetics any time soon. That’s why it’s vital to carefully read product labels, so you know exactly what you’re exposing your body to, and to opt for natural alternatives wherever possible instead. The Green People, sell a range of safe, natural products from toothpaste to sunscreen, which are made without synthetic harmful chemicals. For more information visit, www.greenpeople.co.uk
Here's to your good health,
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
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Environ Health. 2017 Jun 9; 16(1): 55