How They Harm Rather than Protect
by Elizabeth Plourde, PhD
this is a must read.
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Toxic Sunscreens. Healthy Skin Support With Essential Oils
To your health!Young Living member# 1128387
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Health Essentials LLC.
Sunscreen: False Promises
From Townsend Letter For Doctors (09/12) The False Promises of Sunscreens: The Real Consequences of Their Use
by Elizabeth Plourde, CLS, NCMP, PhD
The promotion surrounding sunscreens has been the promise that they protect from both skin cancers and photoaging of the skin. However, readily available evidence reveals that sunscreens not only increase the risk of skin cancers, including melanomas, but also leave the skin exposed to a higher percentage of the solar rays that actually break down collagen and elastin, resulting in greater photoaging of the skin than without sunscreen use.
Skin Cancers Increasing in Epidemic Proportions
Over last few decades, the admonition to use sunscreen whenever going outdoors has taken over the headlines, yet melanomas have shown a consistent rise in incidence rate since sunscreens were first introduced.
Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinomas
The US National Institutes of Health does not keep track of the numbers of skin cancers that are caused by basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas as it does for melanomas. Therefore, retrospective (historic) case reviews and statistical analyses on pooled data bases need to be utilized to determine the prevalence of these skin cancers. In a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study published in 2005, doctors stated that they found that the number of women under age 40 diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma had more than doubled in the previous 27 years. The incidence rose from 13.4/100,000 to 31.6/100,000.2 They also stated that, during this same time, the squamous cell carcinoma rate for women also increased significantly.
An analysis published in Archives of Dermatology in 2010 showed that in the 14 years between 1992 and 2006, the total number of procedures for skin cancer in the Medicare (fee-for-service) population increased by 76.9%. The number treated per year rose during this time from 1,158,298 in 1992 to 2,048,517 in 2006. With totals of skin cancer diagnoses and number of patients in the US population much higher than previous estimates, the researchers concluded: "… these data give the most complete evaluation to date of the under recognized epidemic of skin cancer in the United States."
Our skin is designed to use antioxidants to neutralize the solar radiation as well as increase melanin in the skin as part of its natural protection. Melanin, the brown pigment made by the melanocytes in the basal layer of the skin, is the body's own built-in protective defense, as it effectively absorbs the energy of the UV radiation. The use of sunscreens stops the body's natural process of creating more melanin to protect the cells. Sunscreen use also prevents our built-in red warning light – painful sunburn on the skin – from signaling us to get out of the sun. Staying in the sun 10, 20, 30, or 50 times longer than people normally would because a sunscreen chemical is preventing the sunburn consumes the skin's store of antioxidants, leaving the skin open to damage from the radiation. The result has been increased skin cancers paralleling the increased use of sunscreens. One of the reasons that this has occurred is that the first sunscreens only blocked the UVB sunburning rays, and did not block the UVA portion of the solar spectrum. The UVA rays penetrate much deeper than UVB and create reactive oxygen species (ROS) that cause damage at the cellular level, damage that leads to both skin cancers and photoaging.
Combining Sunscreen Chemicals to Create 'Broad-Spectrum' Coverage
Even though this problem was soon recognized, it was not until 2011 that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidelines mandating that a sunscreen must filter both UVA and UVB radiation in order for manufacturers to put a SPF (sun protection factor) rating on their labels. These newer formulated sunscreens are termed "broad spectrum," as they are now required to filter both UVB and UVA solar rays. Since each chemical covers only a specific portion of the solar spectrum, several chemicals must be combined to assure that more of the solar spectrum is filtered. This combining creates diverse problems.
Accelerated Photodegradation: Some of the chemicals or metals used as sun filters actually become inactivated upon exposure to sunlight, a photodegradation that prevents them from being capable of protecting the skin from solar radiation. This photodegradation can occur even more rapidly when chemicals are combined, compared with when they are used by themselves.
Increased Toxicity: Even more important, research studies have been identifying that chemicals may not be "too toxic" when used individually, but low concentrations of several in combination create new harmful chemical complexes that result in a much more toxic formula. Articles end with the recommendation that all future research on possible toxic effects of sunscreen chemicals has to look at these chemicals in combinations, the way they are now being required to be sold.
Is Broad Spectrum UV Coverage Really an Answer?
Only 4% of the Solar Radiation that Reaches Our Skin Is UV
With the realization that UVA is more damaging, the promotion currently is: as long as we are using the "broad spectrum" sun filters, we are safe. However, the entire UVA and UVB spectrum makes up only 4% of the total solar radiation that reaches us through the earth's atmosphere. This is another reason why skin cancers have increased with sunscreen use. The far greater amount of radiation that our skin is exposed to is the near infrared radiation (NIR), and NIR constitutes 47% of the solar radiation penetrating our atmosphere and thereby reaching our skin. These rays penetrate even deeper than the UVA rays. They go deep into subcellular structures, including the mitochondria, where they create ROS, and that is where the blocking of damaging radiation needs to take place. Many new methods have been researched to prevent ROS damage at the mitochondrial level, but no satisfactory solutions have been found to stop the NIR damage – damage that can lead to skin cancers, as well as photoaging of the skin because NIR leads to the destruction of both collagen and elastin. Some researchers are investigating an agent called mitoquinone (MitoQ), a quinone similar to coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) that would work on preventing IR from producing ROS in the mitochondria. Preliminary studies are indicating that it does.
Sunscreen Chemicals are Potent Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
Not only are sunscreens doing the opposite of what they have been promoted for, many journal articles published today are revealing that these chemicals also lead to damaging changes in the species of life that have been tested. Classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), many of the sunscreen chemicals used are potent estrogens, antiestrogens, testosterones, and antitestosterones. In fact, the very commonly used benzophenones and salicylates demonstrate more antiandrogenic activity than that of flutamide, the antiandrogen drug given to prostate cancer patients to stop the influence of testosterone in the effort to slow prostate cancer growth. One chemical that is almost universally used in sunscreens is benzophenone-3 (BP3). A generational study on mice showed that it results in both general as well as reproductive toxicity These results demonstrate that this common sunscreen chemical affects the entire body, including the liver and kidneys, as well as disrupts normal reproductive development in subsequent generations.
Benzophenone is Found In 97% of Humans Tested
Due to such excessive use as has been promoted by both sunscreen manufacturers and the medical community, the chemicals are now so ubiquitous in the environment that they are in the bloodstreams of 97% of Americans who were tested, including 90% of Americans who stated that they had never used sunscreens.
Sunscreen chemicals are also found in household dust, which means that we are breathing them into our lungs, giving them even greater access to the bloodstream. In addition, 85% of nursing mothers' milk samples now test positive for sunscreen chemicals, resulting in our children's drinking potent hormones during crucial early development.
An even bigger problem is that many ingredients belong to a chemical family known as phenols. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a commonly known phenol, which as of 2011 in California and 10 other states is outlawed in baby bottles and baby items such as pacifiers. Phenols can pass through the placenta and enter the fetus. The fact that offspring of mice and rats exposed to sunscreen chemicals show general, thyroid, and reproductive toxicity means that these chemicals can cause the same harmful changes in our human offspring.
The Vitamin D Deficiency Pandemic
The promotion of using sunscreens in epidemic proportions has led to what is being described as a worldwide pandemic of vitamin D deficiency, so extreme that there has been a reemergence of rickets, the "17th century disease," in some parts of the world, including America. Rickets was given that title as it was rampant when people congregated in cities which became so large that they did not have exposure to sunlight. The vitamin D produced in the skin – our own built-in vitamin D manufacturing plant – in response to solar radiation is a crucial part of our overall health. Adequate vitamin D levels are essential to absorb calcium from the foods that we eat. With low levels of vitamin D, the body cannot adequately regulate calcium or phosphate levels for proper bone formation. This results in soft bones in newborns and toddlers. The children become bowlegged or knock-kneed and are diagnosed with rickets. Low vitamin D also results in the body's using parathyroid hormone to pull calcium from the bones for necessary muscle contraction and nerve conduction, which weakens bones even further, rather than building them. Back in the 17th century, once it was realized that lack of sun and therefore diminished levels of vitamin D in the body led to the development of rickets, sun exposure was actively encouraged, including putting babies and toddlers out in the sun, as well as fortifying foods with vitamin D. These practices wiped out that last pandemic.
Today, the message to fear the sunlight, along with the warning to never go in the sun without sunscreen, has led not only to a reemergence of rickets in the 21st century, but also to an increase in the many disease states that develop from low vitamin D levels, including osteoporosis.
Vitamin D plays such numerous roles in most body systems that our entire population is at risk for the many disease states that arise when levels of vitamin D are deficient due to slathering on sunscreen before going outdoors. Newborn infants are at risk for seizures because of low calcium levels caused by low vitamin D. Owing to its involvement in glucose metabolism, type 2 diabetes in adults is shown to be associated with low vitamin D levels, and low levels during pregnancy can result in newborns and children developing type 1 diabetes. Many autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis as well as bowel disorders like Crohn's disease can arise. Important in muscle metabolism, vitamin D levels when deficient can lead to fibromyalgia. The weakened muscles also can result in bladder incontinence and weak pelvic floors in women, which is linked to an increase in the number of caesarean deliveries that are necessary.
Could This Be One of the Factors Creating the Explosion of Autism and ADHD?
It is critical to research whether sunscreen chemicals, as well as sunscreen use resulting in lower vitamin D levels in mothers and children, could be part of the many environmental factors responsible for the rapid increase in the numbers of children with autism and ADHD in the last several decades. In the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), autism spectrum disorder is being diagnosed at younger ages. Their findings reveal that the prevalence in 8-year-old children increased an average of 57% just between the years 2002 and 2006.
Hormonally, many of the sunscreen chemicals act as potent antitestosterones, which means that the fetal development of boys would experience a much greater impact. The gender difference in autism incidence in the US today shows a ratio of 4 boys for every 1 girl diagnosed. More whites use sunscreens, since they do not have the protective melanin in their skin, and a higher percentage do show sunscreen chemicals in their blood compared with those with darker skin. Therefore we would expect to see more autism in the white population, and that is exactly what the statistics reveal – the incidence of autism is in fact higher. Additionally, sunscreen chemicals have been identified as thyroid disrupting chemicals (TDC). TDCs can create a disruption of the proper signaling of thyroid hormones in the brain during crucial times of cell migration and establishment of neuronal networks, creating permanent alterations in the developing human brain that could result in deficits in mental development. Research is also revealing that prenatal exposure to thyroid toxic chemicals could be one of the reasons for the current surge in numbers of autistic children.
Adding pieces of this puzzle together is the research of Dr. George Bartzokis, professor of psychiatry at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Bartzokis has been researching the role of the myelin sheath in neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. More recently he has extended the idea that autism could be arising because of defective development of the myelin sheath in the nerve fibers in the brain during infant and childhood development. He reasons that toxins combined with genetic vulnerabilities could result in any of the ADHD and autistic spectrum of disorders. Which disorder develops would depend on the stage of brain development that was occurring in the child at the time of exposure to the insult to the myelination process, which heavily depends on cholesterol and nutrients such as vitamin D.
Another theory being developed by MIT researcher Dr. Stephanie Seneff, along with others, is that autism is in part caused by a severe deficiency in sulfate throughout the body. They propose that this deficiency comes about in part due to inadequate sun exposure to the skin, because the synthesis of vitamin D3 sulfate and cholesterol sulfate in the skin depends upon sun exposure. Sunscreen likely interferes with this natural process. Seneff has also argued that both cholesterol and vitamin D have to be available in sufficient quantities for the signaling of the necessary apoptotic pruning to occur in a child's brain, which usually takes place around age 2. This represents removal of irrelevant connections and unproductive neurons during the first years of development, which need to be systematically weeded out as they are no longer useful. This weeding does not occur unless there are adequate levels of cholesterol and vitamin D. Such weeding out is essential, and researchers are finding that this process does not occur in autistic children.
Sunscreen: False Promises (continued)
A third possibility for sunscreens' contributing to autism is their potential for introducing aluminum into the body. Increasingly, sunscreens contain aluminum hydroxide and other aluminum salts, which are deemed necessary to produce the small nanoparticles that make the texture more satisfactory (more on this topic shortly). It has recently been argued that the aluminum that is often present as an adjuvant in vaccines may be a contributor to autism, as aluminum has highly toxic properties in the brain. It is also conceivable that aluminum in sunscreen disturbs the body's natural protection mechanisms in the skin.
The identification of these many correlations of sunscreen use to autism underscores the need to look deeply into sunscreen's chemical effects. This includes the result of using them – too little vitamin D for proper growth and development – as part of why autism has reached such epidemic proportions. With all the chemicals that our bodies are subjected to today, the increase in autism is most likely due to several chemicals, combined with the possibility that combinations of chemicals create more toxicity along with greater vulnerability. However, researchers need to make this a priority, as 1 in 58 boys' being diagnosed with autism in America in the first part of the 21st century is a burden to society in every way. This includes the strain and stress on the families, resulting in many broken homes, the staggering additional medical and educational costs, and the question of whether these children will be able to function as contributing adults who are needed for a flourishing society.
It is important to enjoy the sun sensibly, as we need the benefits that it generates. Researchers are recommending that people expose their skin to the sun routinely for the amount of time that does not result in sunburn.The Birth of the Nanosized Generation
In addition to the hormonally active chemicals, another major constituent in most sunscreens that has far-reaching consequences results from utilizing materials that are relatively new to humanity. The metals titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO) are being incorporated into sunscreens as they block out UVA as well as UVB rays. ZnO covers the full long and short range portion of the UVA spectrum, while titanium dioxide filters primarily only the short UVA portion. These metal oxides in their natural form are thick opaque pastes that look like white "goo" on the skin (e.g., white-nosed lifeguards from years ago). To make them more acceptable to the public, manufacturers decided to shrink them down to infinitesimally tiny nanometer-size particles, which results in making them transparent to the eye. To do this, they need to add aluminum salts, which, as mentioned earlier, may penetrate the skin and cause harm in unpredictable ways.
These newly developed nanoparticles are derived from metal oxides that have been considered relatively safe in their full natural state, or bulk form. Due to this reasoning, in 1998 the FDA approved titanium dioxide nanoparticles for use in consumer products without requiring new testing to be performed to determine whether the nanosized metal was as safe as its parent compound. However, research articles state that the radically reduced size results in radically different behavior. The reactivities that they exhibit are so different that researchers still have not been able to develop testing techniques which can adequately determine how these new materials may be toxic to life.
Over the last few years, more and more published articles are sounding alarms over the use of these tiny particles. A 2009 article published in Small Journal demonstrated that TiO2 nanoparticles create cellular damage due to the impairment of cell function, as the nanoparticles result in:
decreased cell size. decreased cell proliferation decreased mobility decreased ability to contract collagen. penetration of cell membranes sequestering into vesicles that continue to swell and rupture
Researchers have also identified that TiO2 nanoparticles:
create oxidative stress reduce glutathione and increase hydroperoxide levels kill epidural cells cross both cell and nuclear membranes damage DNA and disrupt normal cell division cross the protective blood–brain barrier create reactive oxygen species (ROS) that result in brain neuron death in exposed mice offspring, large DNA deletions
This crucial damage could arise in human babies exposed in utero to these microscopic-sized metals.Nanoparticles Harm Aquatic Life
The promotion of sunscreen use has been so successful that sunscreen chemicals are now found in the oceans, lakes, and rivers of the world even though studies to verify that they do not harm aquatic life have still not been completed.
In 2011, 12 years after FDA approval, a study published in Aquatic Toxicology concluded that the long-term risks of titanium dioxide nanoparticles are currently unknown. Their results identified that TiO2 caused obvious harm to the zebrafish that they were studying and found accumulation of the nanoparticles in the gills, liver, and heart, as well as the brain of the fish.
A 2011 review of studies that examined the effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on zebrafish published in Environment International identified sublethal physiological effects including respiratory toxicity, trace element disruption in tissues, inhibition of the cellular sodium and potassium enzyme pump, and oxidative stress. These researchers also highlighted the inability to accurately assess the metabolism of nanoparticles owing to lack of adequate testing methods available to measure the nanoparticles in the tissues.
ZnO nanoparticles kill plankton. A study published in 2010 in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry showed that ZnO nanoparticles are toxic to phytoplankton. Also in 2010, Toxicology published that ZnO and TiO2 nanoparticles, respectively, are rated as "extremely toxic" and "harmful" to marine life.
This aspect of killing off marine life is gravely important to the planet. Phytoplankton are not only critical to the beginning of the marine food chain, they are also estimated to be responsible for producing possibly as much as 90% of the world's oxygen supply. Researchers have calculated that today there is 40% less phytoplankton in the world's oceans than in 1950. This decline has been seen everywhere except in the Indian Ocean, and in coastal zones where fertilizer runoff from agricultural land has increased nutrient supplies and therefore has supported their growth.
In the oceans, the chemicals at very low concentrations (same as after showering off the sunscreen) completely bleach (i.e., kill) coral in 96 hours. The chemicals identified that cause the die-off are BP3, octylmethoxycinnamate (OMC), 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), and butylparaben (BP), which is used as a preservative. Sunscreens marketed with labels stating that they are safe for coral reefs often contain the above chemicals, as well as TiO2.53
In sampling aquatic life forms, toxic changes are seen in the offspring of fish exposed to the chemical sunscreens. The offspring show reproductive harm by exhibiting a combination of male and female sexual development in their testicle and egg compartments. This occurs to such a strong degree that researchers have coined the term intersex for these chemically affected offspring. The damage is so great to some that they even stop spawning.
This much reproductive disruption in fish identifies the possibility that this could be happening in all species of life, including human fetuses that are exposed to mixtures of great quantities of the potent hormonally active sunscreen chemicals.
Finally, there is complete ecosystem toxicity, as they are finding these chemicals and metals in all aquatic and marine species tested, and are seeing an accumulation of them as they move up the food chains in both environments. In 2010 in Marine Environmental Research, the researchers state that their environmental risk assessment calls for more testing to be done, as they found that combinations of the chemicals on the surface of the waters are putting sensitive species at risk.Mother Nature's Solar Radiation Antidote: Antioxidants
Amazingly, the antidote to solar radiation has been with us forever: our naturally abundant antioxidants. These powerful molecules not only work well in preventing cellular damage throughout the body, they also protect the skin from radiation damage, no matter which form, whether it is in the UV or the NIR range. This alone makes their use provide far greater protection than the narrow spectral UV coverage provided by individual chemical sunscreens, or even a fuller UV coverage when several are added together. Studies show that many antioxidant foods prevent the harmful changes that occur at the cellular level when we stay in the sun too long. Solar protective antioxidant products can also be purchased.
When shopping, it is important to be aware as well of what products may be harmful, and to read the labels of everything that you buy, because most cosmetics, body lotions, and shampoos contain sunscreens. Titanium dioxide is approved in the US by the FDA as a food additive and as a result is added to many food products, including those sold in health food stores. Look at all labels, from perfumes to soaps to puddings, as sunscreens are being utilized to protect the color of many products. Perfume presents a particular problem, however, because their formulations are proprietary information and manufacturers are not required to disclose every component.Bring Back Protective Clothing
Covering up from the sun completely is not a good idea, because it not only decreases the body's ability to manufacture vitamin D, but also prevents tanning that can be a beneficial sunscreen owing to the protection created from the increased melanin. Fashions have changed much over the years, and it can become fashionable to protect our skin by wearing clothing with longer sleeves and skirts or pants, as well as hats and gloves, which were fashionable for women only a half a century ago.
We can learn from Australia's SunSmart program, which used public service television messages to encourage more clothing cover-ups for children and to bring covering-up styles back into fashion again. The SunSmart promotion has resulted in a reduction of melanoma incidence and mortality rates in Australia's younger population. Because of this promotion, Australian businesses offer more protective lines of clothing for children than can be found in other countries.
Some manufacturers have designed UV cloth and clothing that is impregnated with TiO2 or ZnO nanoparticles. This impregnation results in the material's being antimicrobial and therefore it is being promoted for hospital use. These nanoparticles wash off into the water, as shown by the fact that they no longer offer this protection after approximately 20 washings. However, it is not necessary to resort to this material, as tightly woven cloth keeps out the sun. This would be a better solution than to have these metals grinding into the skin and entering either the body's ecosystem or our planet's ecosystem through the wash water runoff.
There is no need to keep contaminating our planet. Many environmental programs have been initiated to protect it, yet simply changing from toxic chemicals to helpful antioxidants for sun protection will help restore the oceans' corals, the plankton population, and the reproductivity in our fish, and protect our health and that of our newborns and children for the future generations to come.
Dr. Plourde is a clinical laboratory scientist, medical researcher, author, and international speaker who specializes in hormones and hormone balance, especially at menopause. Certified by the North American Menopause Society as a Menopause Practitioner, her expertise in this field became essential to explain the full impact that sunscreens have on humans and other life on the planet, as they act as potent estrogens and antitestosterones.
posted at http://www.tanplusforhealth.com/news/sunscreen/ss_false_promises2.htm