Tiny nanoparticles commonly used in sunscreens caused long-term neurological damage in mice, researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found.
The study found that titania, listed on sunscreen labels as titanium oxide, induced cultured mice brain cells to manufacture chemicals that are protective in the short term but can cause damage over time.
It is not known whether the same holds true for humans, but recently eight lobby groups, including Friends of the Earth and The International Center for Technology Assessment, petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about safety risks of nanoparticles in cosmetics and personal care products.
Scientists say the tiny particles may have different chemical compositions than their larger derivatives, and because nanoparticles are so small they are more easily absorbed into the skin, raising potential risks.
It will still be years before the safety of nanotechnology can be proven, however, the particles are already being put into use in sunscreens, toothpaste, makeup and other products.
Nanotechnology, which has been called "the manufacturing technology of the 21st century," refers to the study and design of systems at the scale of the atom, or the nanoscale. At the most basic level, the manufacturing is actually the rearranging of individual molecules and atoms into complex "molecular machines."
As the Related Links section below will show you, I am a major fan of this technology as the benefits it promises are truly astounding.
However, there are two primary concerns. One is in the manufacturing process. Workers making these products may be exposing themselves to toxins that are actually worse than asbestos. We just don't know.
The other concern is if any of these nanoparticles can escape into your body. If you breathe them in or apply them to your skin they have the potential to cause devastation in your body, as this very preliminary study strongly suggests.
Little is known about how nanomaterials interact with living organisms, and nanomaterials are so small that they can easily be inhaled or absorbed through your skin.
It is not commonly appreciated, especially among traditional medical doctors, that the food you eat is far more important to the development of skin cancers than sun exposure.
At the beginning of 1900 we had very little processed vegetable oils in our diet. Now vegetables are great and we all need them every day, but when they are processed and refined and consumed in large amounts they can cause major health problems.
Most vegetables are very high in omega-6 fats. In the last 100 years the U.S. population has gone from consuming virtually no vegetable fats to consuming more than 70 pounds per year. Fats from corn oil, safflower, sunflower, sesame and other oils are virtually 100 percent omega-6 fats.
This high consumption of omega-6 fats totally distorts the important omega-6:3 ratio, and this ratio is one of the keys to obtaining any type of cancer, but especially skin cancer.
So not only will we benefit from consuming additional omega-3 fats, but it is vital to reduce the omega-6 vegetable oils as much as possible. Ideally, the ratio should be 1:1, but most Americans have a 15:1 ratio. The Japanese are the longest-lived culture on earth, and their ratio is about 3:1.
If you don't believe me on this one, I encourage you to check out one of the top cancer journal articles Cancer Research 2000 Aug 1;60(15):4139-45:
"Epidemiological, experimental, and mechanistic data implicate omega-6 fat as stimulators and long-chain omega-3 fats as inhibitors of development and progression of a range of human cancers, including melanoma."
Over 10 years ago an Australian study showed a 40 percent reduction in melanoma for those who were eating fish -- and this was without any attention to lowering omega-6 fats.
Five years ago, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive review showing that the omega-6:3 ratio was the key to preventing skin cancer development.
So, do I recommend you pop some fish oil pills and go out and get as much sun as you would like?
You must exercise caution. At the beginning of the season go out gradually, perhaps as little as 10 minutes a day. Progressively increase your time in the sun so that in a few weeks, you will be able to have normal sun exposure with little risk of skin cancer.
Remember never to get burned, that is the key.
Remember also never to use sunscreen, another key. You can creatively use your clothing to block the sun's rays during your build-up time.
The bottom line is: please avoid getting sucked into the hype that sunlight is dangerous. It is only dangerous if you are clueless about fat nutrition, which most medical doctors are. If you choose to ignore your omega-6:3 ratio and stay out of the sun, you could limit your risk of skin cancer, but is that worth the risk of getting MS, breast or prostate cancers?
I think not.
So get yourself some high-quality omega-3 oil like krill oil, and be very careful to reduce your intake of omega-6 vegetable oils. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is one of the most important reasons that you will come down with dangerous skin cancers.
Incidentally, the sunscreen we sell in our store has titanium dioxide but it is NOT have nanoparticle technology so it is safe