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Sunscreen Safety Questioned Yet Again

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

oxybenzone sunscreen

Story at-a-glance -

  • A 2019 study by the U.S. FDA shows four common active ingredients in sunscreen — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule — are absorbed into your blood at levels that could potentially pose health risks
  • Systemic concentrations greater than 0.5 ng/mL were reached for all four products after four applications on the first day; 0.5 ng/mL is the FDA maximum threshold for waiving systemic carcinogenicity, developmental and reproductive toxicology studies for sunscreens
  • Follow-up research confirms systemic concentrations of sunscreen chemicals are up to 500 times higher than the FDA’s assumed safety threshold
  • Oxybenzone and several other active ingredients in sunscreens enhance the ability of other chemicals to penetrate your skin, including toxic herbicides, pesticides and insect repellants, and act as endocrine disrupters
  • Despite the endocrine disrupting and neurotoxic effects of oxybenzone, its high absorbability, and the availability of safe sunscreens (those containing non-nanosized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), the FDA and American Academy of Dermatology urge people to continue using oxybenzone-containing sunscreen on a daily basis

Conventional guidance to avoid unprotected sun exposure at all costs has likely done public health a great disservice. The American Academy of Dermatology, for example, stresses daily use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, regardless of weather conditions or skin pigmentation — two factors that simply cannot be overlooked when weighing the risks and benefits of sun exposure and sunscreen use.

A direct result of this blanket recommendation is widespread vitamin D deficiency, which we now know is a risk factor for a wide variety of cancers and many other chronic diseases. Your vitamin D level even influences your risk of skin cancer.


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