Article by: Perry Romanowski

Articles like this bug me.

The Claim: A Sunscreen Chemical Can Have Toxic Side Effects

In this sound-bite, headline reading world, a person will casually see this in their reader or on the Internet and conclude that sunscreens are toxic.

The fact is further supported in the first paragraph where the writer says “Sunscreen is supposed to protect skin. But some people suspect that a chemical in sunscreen, absorbed through the skin, may be even more hazardous than the sun’s rays. ”

The author then goes on to site a couple of small studies that some people find supports the headline. But if you read a little further down the article, you see a completely different story.

According to the independent researchers at Memorial Sloan-Ketterin Cancer Center the research raising toxic concerns of Oxybenzone are unrealistic and that oxybenzone is safe for use at normal levels. They also looked at the data for the compound being tested on humans and found there were no safety concerns.

I appreciate the fact that they end with the bottom line that “exposure to oxybenzone, through normal sunscreen use, is safe…” but what’s with the “sunscreeens are toxic” spin?

Ridiculous.

3 comments

  1. Duncan

    “Bad news Sells” Claims Journalist

    Yes there are reasons (Some incidences of Photoallergy) why you might prefer not to use it if better options exist, and thats the reason is not as popular in the EU anymore. In an FDA regulated market, however, its one of the better materials to hand

    Hell if you want a good story, point out that even the purest water will kill if ingested in sufficient quantities by inhalation. This causes 1000’s of deaths worldwide every year

  2. tooglam

    This is simply a perfect example of why journalists shouldn’t be trusted sources of information and why fact oriented journalism itself has been a long dying fad.

    They needed an attention catching title, that would make more people want to read the entire article. Imagine if they focused on the facts in the title: “A Sunscreen Chemical can have toxic side effects, but not really, just one out of a million scientists says so”. If I saw that title while browsing, my doubts would be answered and I know that I would simply continue on reading other things, cause there’s nothing to fear from sunscreens.

    1. Perry

      @tooglam – you’ve got that right!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *