The EcoWaste Coalition, a watchdog group on harmful chemicals and products, today cautioned the public against using sunscreens containing ingredients banned by Asian and European health authorities.
“The consumption of sunscreen products increases as summer sizzles and people head to the beaches and pools to beat the heat,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
Sunscreens are products that help protect the skin from overexposure to the sun, which can cause sunburns, premature skin aging, wrinkles, and even skin cancer, the non-profit group noted.
“Unhappily, there are sunscreens on store shelves that may do more harm than good to consumer health due to their unsafe ingredients, which can easily penetrate the skin and pose hazard to the endocrine system,”
The group advised consumers to carefully read product labels after finding isobutylparaben and isopropylparaben listed as ingredients in 19 sunscreen and skin moisturizing and whitening products sold in local retail outlets.
Isobutylparaben and isopropylparabens are among the five parabens prohibited in cosmetic products under the ASEAN and the European Union cosmetics regulations. The other three banned parabens are benzylparaben, pentylparaben and phenylparaben.
The European Commission banned the said five parabens in cosmetic products in 2014 after the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety “noted that limited or no information was submitted by industry for (their) safety evaluation. As a result, for these compounds, the human risk cannot be evaluated.”
Parabens have been identified as endocrine disrupting chemicals based on evidence that they interfere and mimic hormones, particularly estrogen, which is the primary female sex hormone, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
Studies have associated parabens in breast cancer, tumors of the uterus, abnormal development of the testes, infertility and other reproductive health problems, the group noted.
To safeguard consumer health, the EcoWaste Coalition notified the Food and Drugs Administration about the availability of cosmetics with isobutylparaben and/or isopropylparaben that are sold locally through letters sent on January 18, February 18 and February 19, 2016.
Among the sunscreens containing isobutylparaben and/or isopropylparaben are: Babyskin Whitening Lotion with Moisturizing Sunscreen, Dermplus Moisturizing Sunblock Ultimate 130, Ocean Potion Protect and Nourish Sun Protection Lotion, and Save Our Skin Nourishing and Whitening Cream with Waterproof Sunscreen.
Among the skin moisturizing and whitening lotions with isobutylparaben and/or isopropylparaben as listed ingredients are: Beauty Formulas Dry & Cracked Skin Cream (Menthol & Peppermint), Belo Essentials Whitening Lotion with SPF 30, Delon Aloe Vera Skin Care Lotion, Delon Body Lotion, Delon Silk & Satin Whipped Lotion, Glupa Skin Whitening Lotion with Shea Butter and Concealing Effect , Keri Bath Botanicals Sensitive Skin (Chamomile, Aloe and Cucumber), Maxi-Peel Moisturizing Cream, Ocean Potion Aloe Lotion, Shinzu’i Skin Lightening Body Cleanser (Hana), Shinzu’i Skin Lightening Body Cleanser (Kensho) , Shinzu’i Skin Lightening Body Cleanser (Myori) , Shinzu’i Skin Lightening Body Lotion, YSA Botanica Face & Body Whitening Lotion and YSA Botanica Papaya & Kojic Acix 2X Whitening Powder Hand & Body Whitening Lotion.
To reduce risk of skin damage and cancer during the summer months, the EcoWaste Coalition echoed the following easy options for sun protection from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Environment Working Group and requested the public to follow them:
1. Go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky.
2. Seek shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter, especially during midday hours.
3. Wear loose‐fitting long‐sleeved shirts and long pants to protect exposed skin from the sun.
4. Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
5. Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes, as well as the tender skin around the eyes, from sun exposure and reduce the risk of cataracts.
6. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade as they lack the tanning pigments known as melanin to protect their skin.
7. Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and offers both ultraviolet A and B protection.