Summer is the time for outdoor adventures, beach vacations, endless days of playing with friends, baseball games, cookouts and swimming in your favorite swimming holes. But summer also is a great time to discuss the power of the sun. We all know that too much of a good thing is bad for us, but did you know that getting too little sun can be a problem? The Environmental Working Group is known for their yearly sunscreen review that highlights the potential dangers of sunscreens on the market. Their info can be frightening when you consider that the federal government says these sunscreens and the chemicals they contain are safe and appropriate for you and your family. Chemicals? What? So what should a parent do? Hibernate and flee the sun or face the great outdoors informed and prepared? Of course, the answer is clear. Just as it is critically important to know about the food you put into your body, it is also critically important to know what you put on your body. Take this info for instance, did you know that laboratory studies of several sunscreen chemicals indicate that they may mimic hormones and disrupt the hormone system? The endocrine system regulates hormones in the body, and this system is also includes the pituitary, thyroid, pancreas and adrenal glands. Hormones regulate and influence many body functions like: sleep, blood pressure, physical growth, cell repair, appetite, metabolism, reproduction and pain regulation. As you can imagine, this is creating a growing health issue for children. While the growing health issues for children is another blog post for another day, digging into the toxic chemicals in sunscreen and the reasons we need Vitamin D is what we are about to examine. What are some of the toxic chemicals in sunscreen? – Oxybenzone – Para amino benzoic acid – Octyl salicyclate – Cinoxate – Dioxybenzone – Phenylbenzimidazole – Homosalate – Menthyl anthranilate – Octocrylene – Methoxycinnamate – Parabens The primary offender in the U.S. is oxybenzone, which is found is nearly all of the available chemical sunscreens, yet the governmental regulatory agencies have said it is safe and thus mainstream medicine has rubber-stamped their approval. The FDA has approved oxybenzone in sunscreen for use on children older than 6 months and Dr. Daniel M. Siegel, the head of the AmericanAcademy of Dermatology says, “Oxybenzone is one of the few FDA-approved ingredients that provides effective broad spectrum protection from UV radiation, and has been approved for use since 1978.” But just as the FDA and other government regulators have approved food, drugs and other products they deem “safe”, we have seen that human safety has not been the priority above the influence of the cash influx from powerful industry lobbyists. What’s interesting is that a recent article published by the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal gives conflicting info with other publications: Whereas skin cancer is associated with too much UVR exposure, other cancers could result from too little. Living at higher latitudes increases the risk of dying from Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as breast, ovarian, colon, pancreatic, prostate, and other cancers, as compared with living at lower latitudes. In case you are wondering about the EHP, the Environmental Health Perspectives is a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Another round of doublespeak: In a CDC report in 2012, they issued the warning that babies don’t get enough Vitamin D, you know the vitamin that is important for absorbing calcium and promoting bone growth. The vitamin that also helps to: – Protect against cancer, including melanoma – Support healthy kidney function – Enhance your muscle strength – Promote healthy teeth – Help produce optimal blood pressure levels – Help keep your bones strong and healthy – Help maintain a healthy immune system – Support your cardiovascular health The FDA also chimes in with a report saying to not put sunscreen on babies and to keep them out of the sun. In fact, a pediatrician with the FDA states: “Babies’ skin is less mature compared to adults, and infants have a higher surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children and adults. Both these factors mean that an infant’s exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens may be much greater, increasing the risk of side effects from the sunscreen.” Chemicals in sunscreen? But didn’t the government say sunscreen and the chemicals it contains are safe for humans? So where does that leave parents? Hopefully it leaves you with a hunger for researching knowledge yourself. Know what you are putting into your kids’ body and know what you are putting on your kids’ body. Our kids deserve nothing less!