Surprising Statistics on Sunscreen

Pools are open in this part of the country so before the kids and I hit the water, I started to dig around about the best sunscreens for our brood. The latest information from Environmental Working Group (EWG)  unearthed troubling facts that might tempt you to give up on sunscreens altogether. That’s not the right answer – despite the unknowns about their efficacy, public health agencies still recommend using sunscreens, just not as your first line of defense against the sun.  Use sunscreens, but look for shade, wear protective clothing and avoid the noontime sun before you smear on the cream. Here are EWG’s surprising sunscreen facts:

1. There’s no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer.
2. There’s some evidence that sunscreens might increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people.
3. There are more high SPF products than ever before, but no proof that they’re better.
4. Too little sun might be harmful, reducing the body’s vitamin D levels.
5. The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed the development of cancer.
6. Free radicals and other skin-damaging byproducts of sunscreen. Read the rest of this entry

Trick or Treat

Environmental Working Group provided this great article with tips on how to “green” your Halloween.

1. Pick play makeup carefully. Many children like to wear colorful cosmetics as part of their costumes. If they do, make sure they’re using safer products and applying them as directed. Visit cosmeticaldatabase.com to look up your products and find safer ones.

Kids should avoid:

  • Face paints can contain lead, which can impair brain development at extremely low doses, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which can cause skin sensitization and contact dermatitis.
  • Lipstick can also contain hidden lead. Because little ones tend to eat almost as much as they put on their lips, it’s best to avoid lipstick all together. Opt instead for a shiny, beeswax-based lip balm.
  • Nail polishoften contains dibutyl phthalate and toluene, chemicals linked to hormone disruption and cancer.
  • Cosmetics in powder form can easily be inhaled. Depending on the particle size, the powder can lodge in children’s nasal passages and even lungs — where it may cause damage.
  • Fragranced products Read ingredient labels and avoid products listing “fragrance” — EXG research found that fragrances may contain allergens or hormone-disrupting chemicals.

 2. Decorate naturally. Pick up pumpkins, gourds and hay bales from a local farm to create a haunting scene and reuse decorations from year to year.

3. Create a low-impact costume. Rather than buying a new costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used at a local resale shop or from friends. Consider a costume swap at school or among friends.

4. Burn more eco-friendly candles — Read the rest of this entry