Contributing Editor: Will Johnston
To protect from the sun’s dangerous rays, we limit the amount of time we spend in the sun, wear protective clothing, and cover with sunscreen.
However sunscreens contain numerous chemicals, including many suspected carcinogens, which are absorbed through the skin and are hazardous to human health. We slather these all over our bodies to prevent melanoma, all the while, we may be increasing free radicals and risking incidence to our reproductive systems.
Certain synthetic chemicals in sunscreen, such as diethanolamine (DEA), are suspected in declining sperm counts, cancers of the testicles, prostate, and breast. Sunscreens also contain endocrine disrupters including benzophenone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and parabens. Other chemicals like avobenzone and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) are skin irritations. In one study, oxybenzone exposure to pregnant women was found to decrease birth weight in their fetuses.
Sunscreens activated by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide minerals, in a base of plant-based emollients, are safer alternatives.