Monday, May 24, 2010

Claims about sunscreen's effectiveness come under scrutiny

Tags: Effective Sunscreens Guide, Children, US Regulatory Agencies, Dermatologists, Conflict of Interests,

One article in the New York Times I read several years ago hinted that Bush/Cheney are loading the Civil Service agency with their Boys and Girls to thwart regulations after the Republicans are gone. They made sure that the government agencies were defanged so they could not interfere with corporate profits.

FEMA went from the Clinton's best ever to the worst ever by severely cutting its budget causing many of the best to leave. The Clinton's went from a badly damaged Veteran's Hospital system to a superb one. Bush, Jr. tried to destroy it by forcing doctors to leave and cutting its budget severely leaving it so damaged that it has a problem serving veterans on a timely basis. Obama had to double the employees to try to make autos safer. I wonder if the Bush rogues in the Minerals Management post allowed drilling permits without checking? Of course Obama gets the blame! As it is apparent, the government has no ability or equipment to do much about deep water oil leaks.

The Republicans have been purposely stopping the appointment of leaders to almost all of these regulatory posts to keep them operating without leaders and those who were picked could not possibly learn their job in such a short time. I could go on and on!

Remember bad parents have an unusually big effect on their children. I suspect most of the ultra-corporate and conservative Supreme Court justices had punishing parents. I know that Justice Thomas did when he lived with his grandfather who probably beat him a lot.

One of the problems getting good sunscreen products in the USA is that Bush kept out the best by FDA rejection and not granting patents of the best sunscreens. Another problem is the many top dermatologists are hired as consultants to sunscreen manufacturers. For example, Merck, one of our top drug maker, also makes Coppertone sunscreens.

Remember UVA can penetrate your skin as easily as glass windows. Because there is no guidelines on UVA, we have no idea how good sunscreens are except by experience.

"Your body makes vitamin D when it's exposed to sunlight. In fact, 80 to 100 percent of the vitamin D we need comes from the sun. The sun exposure that makes our skin a bit red (called 1 minimum erythemal dose) produces the equivalent of 10,000 to 25,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D in our bodies.

The problem is that most of us aren't exposed to enough sunlight.

Overuse of sunscreen is one reason. While these product help protect against skin cancer--they also block a whopping 97 percent of your body's vitamin D production.

If you live in a northern climate, you're not getting enough sun (and therefore vitamin D), especially during winter. And you're probably not eating enough of the few natural dietary sources of vitamin D: fatty wild fish like mackerel, herring and cod liver oil or porcini mushrooms.

In addition, aging skin produces less vitamin D--the average 70-year-old person creates only 25 percent of the vitamin D that a 20 year-old does. Skin color makes a difference, too. People with dark skin also produce less vitamin D. And I've seen very severe deficiencies in Orthodox Jews and Muslims who keep themselves covered all the time."

Tuesday, Consumer Reports will issue its sunscreen guide.
The EWG, Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group that has waged a four-year campaign promoting strict sun-safety standards, slammed the majority of the 1,400 products it tested. It recommends only 39 of 500 beach and sport sunscreens, primarily because of what it called "a surge in exaggerated SPF claims above 50" and concerns about ingredients in the products.
"Hats, clothing and shade are still the only completely reliable sun protection," said Jane Houlihan, EWG's vice president for research.

In fact, the long-delayed FDA rules would update labels to stress the importance of a comprehensive approach to sun protection that encourages seeking shade and covering up.
Sunscreen can help protect against sunburn, but contrary to what most people think, it hasn't yet been shown to prevent skin cancer or premature skin aging, according to the FDA. ...

A product labeled SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of the sun's UVB rays; an SPF 50 protects against about 98 percent, said Dr. Henry Lim, chairman of the department of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. ...

A product labeled SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of the sun's UVB rays; an SPF 50 protects against about 98 percent, said Dr. Henry Lim ...

UVA (ultraviolet light with a longer wavelength) radiation facilitates tanning but also can damage the DNA of cells deep within the skin, contributing to skin cancer and premature aging.
Though many products are labeled "broad spectrum," consumers can't currently tell how much protection a sunscreen provides against UVA rays. The Environmental Working Group reported it found that one popular children's sunscreen marketed as SPF 100 had a UVA (UVB, not UVA) protection factor of 9. ...

One sunscreen ingredient flagged as risky by the Environmental Working Group is oxybenzone, which boosts UVA protection and is FDA approved. The group cites lab studies suggesting it has an estrogenic effect and can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
"It's very preliminary but troubling," Houlihan said.
Others say absorption alone isn't enough to raise an alarm. "I'm not closing my mind on the issue, but based on the data I don't see any concern with oxybenzone," said Dr. Lim. ...

Sprays and powders: The Environmental Working Group recommends against these products, which can be accidentally inhaled. Others say there's little risk of harm. "I wouldn't recommend spraying sunscreen into your nose, but the amount you'll inhale is no worse than walking behind a diesel bus," said Dr. David Leffell, chief of dermatologic surgery and cutaneous oncology at the Yale School of Medicine and a consultant for Coppertone. (Merck sunscreen) ...

Vitamin D: Don't forget, the body needs sunlight to make this vital chemical. The National Institutes of Health suggests five to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. several times a week on the face, arms, legs and back during the warmer months. After that, seek shade, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses and use sunscreen. Speaking of covering up, the FDA has not advised using sunscreen under regular clothing. It also doesn't regulate clothing that claims to offer UV protection.

Nanoparticles: Sunscreen labels don't say whether the products contain nanoparticles. Studies have shown that nano-scale ingredients don't penetrate healthy skin, so consumer use should be minimal. But if you want to avoid them until more is known, look for the white-colored zinc or titanium oxide products. If mineral-based sunscreens are clear, they likely have nanoparticles.
Combo products: Insect repellants aren't necessarily safe for frequent application. But you do have to keep reapplying sunscreen. So you may want to avoid combination products. (Swallowing nanoparticles can be very dangerous. Avoid. Jim)

Retinyl palmitate: The EWG recommends avoiding products with a vitamin A derivative called retinyl palmitate. Preliminary data suggest topical applications can enhance the rate of UV-induced skin tumor formation in lab mice, said Dr. Allan Conney, director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research at Rutgers University. Epidemiological studies would be needed to determine whether humans are at risk. Complete article:

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