More than fourteen thousand tons of toxic sunscreen are released into the sea every year - directly by swimmers and more indirectly from sinks, showers and bathtubs.
It only takes about twenty minutes (of swimming in the sea
) for one quarter of that sunscreen, religiously applied to your body and that of your children, to float off and join the sea water.
Why is your regular sunscreen toxic to the environment - and the oceans?
These are 4 of the most common sunscreen ingredients, affecting the environment:
which causes widespread coral bleaching, stunting growth and potentially the coral.
Methylbenztlidene Camphor (4-MBC)
which is toxic to marine wildlife, including zebra fish and sea urchins.
and Zinc Oxide
both of which inhibit the growth and photosynthesis of phytoplankton, the organism at the bottom of the marine food chain. The fall out from these ingredients can work their way up the food chain to larger organism, such as snails and molluscs, weakening their immune systems.
But it is not just these top 4, The European Chemicals Agency have highlighted concerns about the potential threat of another 4 of the common sunscreen ingredients to the environment - and our health.
There is some good news on the horizon
A new type of sunscreen made from seaweed, which is effective, environmentally friendly and good for your skin, is said to be in the pipeline and could even be available within two or three years according to the scientists who have been working on this.
Researchers have identified a chemical in seaweed that absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. This same chemical (known as palythine
) will even reduce wrinkles
, help repair scars
and even firm up the skin
. The team successfully tested a prototype of the sun cream on human skin cells in the lab and found it to be effective at low concentrations.
They are now preparing to test it on humans.
Why we need sunlight for our essential vitamin D
Some of us have known about the toxins in sunscreens for years, but most people choose instead to believe advertisers who make us fear the sun in order to sell products. We now live in a culture where we bad mouth the sun, which is ironic considering it has created all life on Earth. It’s important to remember that fear eventually manifests as reality.
UVB, the source of vitamin D, is at its height 2 hours either side of solar noon. Go ahead and expose as much of your skin and your torso as you legally can! When your skin starts to turn pink, cover up or seek shade. Sunlight is invaluable, sunburn is not. It is earlier and later in the day when you are exposed to UVA - the rays that cause wrinkles and aging
Once you have had sufficient sunlight for the day, then the best sun protection is shade and clothing. Sunscreen does NOT allow the body to absorb any vitamin D from sunlight, so skip the sunscreen and feed your body the vitamin D that will keep it healthy.
Sadly, sunscreens are a huge contributor to toxins in the body, being absorbed within seconds of application . It is vitally important to know what you are putting into your body.
The sun has so many health benefits. Use them or lose them.