Sunscreen chemical turns highly toxic when exposed to sunlight, study reports

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sunscreen(NaturalHealth365) Chronic low vitamin D levels have already been linked with an overuse of sunscreen, which has blocked many populations from receiving enough of the sun’s nourishing rays for adequate vitamin D production. Now, in a bizarre revelation, recent research is showing that sunscreen lotion can also break down into dangerous chemical compounds on the skin when exposed to sunlight and moisture!

Moscow State University researchers have found that an ingredient in many sunscreens called avobenzone decomposes upon contact with sunlight and water into dangerous, unhealthy chemical compounds on the skin. Avobenzone is triggered into becoming toxic through a series of chemical reactions.

Warning: Avobenzone – in sunscreen lotion – produces unwanted consequences

Avobenzone is a derivative of dibenzoylmethane, a chemical compound that is the most popular UV filter in use today. It was patented in 1973 and approved for use in sunscreens by the FDA in 1988. Avobenzone has the ability to block ultraviolet light in a wide range of wavelengths. Because of this, it is used in a number of skin products including creams, lotions, lipsticks and other cosmetics.

UV filters like avobenzone absorb ultraviolet light due to their structures. It then transforms the waves into different lengths not harmful for the skin, in effect changing the sunlight into thermal energy. While this aspect of the chemical is safe, Russian scientists found that it can also break down into hazardous chemical compounds, especially in water.

Exposure to moisture plus sunlight can make sunscreen toxic

The Russian experiments simulated real-life use of sunscreen. Chromatomass spectrometry was used in the research to confirm the findings; it is known as an effective, reliable method of conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis even very complex chemical compound mixtures and structures.

It is believed that moisture from both perspiration and swimming in water can activate the harmful chemical reaction. Avobenzone then breaks down into various organic compounds including aldehydes, aromatic acids, acetyl benzenes and phenols. Chlorinated acetyl benzenes and phenols, in particular, are extremely toxic.

Some of these chemicals can change into lachrymatory mixtures, which are what riot police use when breaking up violent protest meetings. The researchers fear that some of the chemical reactions between sunscreen and water could cause harmful effects to the kidneys, liver and nervous system.

Another reason to cut back on the use of sunscreen lotion

The prevalence of the chemical avobenzone in so many health and beauty products makes this news particularly alarming. While its addition helps to block the damaging effects of getting too much sun, having contact with water could be bringing out other potentially harmful qualities.

Using too much sunscreen is also a likely factor in low vitamin D levels.

The researchers are now studying the effects of avobenzone when it comes into contact with saline water (such as ocean water.) The presence of salt could be triggering additional chemical reactions. The researchers fear that some of the reactions between sunscreen, chlorine and/or salt could cause or exacerbate even more health problems in the vital organs and nervous system.

Editor’s note: Discover several natural ways to protect yourself against sun damage.


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  • Maya Jdimaul

    Suntan lotion isn’t solving problems, it is creating them. Sunscreen lotion is a solution to a problem that may not even be a problem.

  • Lisa Kasel

    The more and more powerful protection you get from the sun the more your health may suffer. All along we have told of skin cell damage ans skin aging from sun exposure. We were never told of the dangers from exposure to the chemicals in sunscreen lotion.

  • Guthy Neilsen

    Clinical test carried out for suntan products never include the consequence of using them. They look at different parameters such as broad-spectrum activity in shielding against harmful UVB rays. They neglected looking at the dangers of using massive amounts of chemicals on the skin, which will penetrate it.

  • Carl Harris

    Suntan products are a market phenomenal. Since it has people scared of sun exposure it is a dominate player in the market place.
    They are asking employers to provide and encourage sun protection for outdoor workers.

    The industry is proactively campaigning to raise awareness of the risks associated with UV exposure. Companies are looking for their products to be dispensed from tubes or wall-mounted dispensers at public facilities, such as public pools and amusement parks.

  • Todd

    I wonder if the industry already knows these facts? They are after a global market with a wide array of lifestyle products. A new survey commissioned by Harris Poll amount 2.057 U.S. adults aged 18 and Oder found that 74% believed the sun was a danger. Their media campaign is to make UV exposure a highly dominant health concern.

  • Marie Hale

    Profit is the end game. Who ever gets hurt is not the industries focus. I hate to use any of the sunscreens on the market. Putting them on my children is not something I would feel good about.

  • Belinda Riley

    I hope this message gets out. The suntan lotions are probably contributing to the low vitamin D levels. Now, it seems they are pollutants..According to the pharmaceutical industry claims suntan products reduce hyperpigmentation. However, what they don’t tell you is chemical pollutants cause this condition.

  • Pat Ormsby

    For the past ten years I have not used any sunscreen at all, only coconut oil. I get an appropriate amount of sunlight on my skin at around noon, measuring the time, and then cover up. A light-colored loose cotton blouse (long sleeves for the beach), slacks and a broad hat do fine. Previously, into outdoor sports I was slathering on lots of dubious products. Skin cancers have appeared not where I burnt (back, shoulders), but other places where I slathered.