Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Sunscreens - Yours Might Not Work!

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A local newspaper article alarmed me, and lead me to this recent report on sunscreens, Sunscreen Summary — What Works and What's Safe. This summary from the Environmental Working Group (a non-profit in Washington DC), says that 4 out of 5 sunscreens offer inadequate protection against harmful rays or could contain harmful chemicals. What's interesting is that when a new sunscreen is marketed, the FDA asks manufacturers to show that it prevents sunburn, but the FDA doesn't require clinical trials verifying the prevention of melanoma or other forms of skin cancer. At the heart of this is, for a long time, "UVB [ultraviolet B] was thought to be the primary carcinogen in the sunlight, but what is happening now is that UVA is being viewed as a melanoma carcinogen," says Edward Gorham, an assistant professor at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego. It's probably no longer good enough to block just UVB, and to make sure your sunscreen blocks UVA too!

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