Chemicals in Sunscreen and Breast Cancer, a Possible Link?Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

Chemicals in Sunscreen and Breast Cancer, a Possible Link?

7 October 2011 at 10:13:21 PM

I've been wanting to share what I've learned for a while. Now I'm finally up to it, and this seems like an appropriate time.
This time last year, I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I'm sure everyone knows October is breast cancer awareness month, but I'd like to bring awareness to something a little more specific, something I wish I'd been aware of years ago.
The key is that in order to limit our exposure to those chemicals, we have to know what they are and where they are. That's why we have to help educate each other.
The majority of sunscreens you will find in discount stores or drug stores contain hormone disruptors. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has ranked the chemicals in order of the worst offenders. (Scroll down a bit to see the chart.)
Both oxybenzone and octinoxate (in the "highest concern for human exposure and toxicity" category) are very, very common in sunscreens. "Octinoxate" is the name that appears on the active ingredient list for the chemical octyl methocinnamate in the EWG's list.
I know a lot of people have the belief that there is always something that "could cause cancer," so they're just not going to worry about it. But I want to share, so at least those who would choose differently have this knowledge. If I'm going to use sunscreen, I now at least read the label and go for a less harmful ingredient. Also, rashguard shirts for swimming are a good alternative to smearing these chemicals all over yourself and your children.

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1 - pstern   8 Oct 2011 @ 11:02:55 AM 

Sorry to hear  re: your cancer diagnosis and hope you are doing well.  I'm not sure if you are pointing the finger at sunscreen as being the cause of your own issue, but either way, we should be aware.

For those who care about sunscreen being a possible cause of cancer, there are several natural options to regular sunscreens.  The one my family has been using for many years is a product called "Cactus Juice" manufactured by Safe Solutions, Inc. located in Fort Worth, TX..  The sunscreen comes in SPF 20 and has a pleasant natural orange scent.  My kids love it and it has protected them during the years.

One of the most criticized possibilities of cancer in our environment is overhead electric wires and magnetic fields on various home and business properties.  There have been many case studies that show inconsistent support that such overhead electric wires and causes of cancer in humans.  So, it remains unclear if there is a real issue or not, but many believe that there is little to worry about.

According to the National Cancer Institute:

The facts apparently do not support the concerns about overhead lines and magnetic force fields, but is it true or not?

There are many environmental and hereditary factors that may cause cancer in humans and we need to become more aware of the possibilities and potential causes.  That is why October is cancer awareness month and I appreciate the notices and comments by J. Ogletree and others who try to keep us informed.

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2 - humanbeing   9 Oct 2011 @ 12:59:42 PM 

Ironic, isn't it, that a substance promoted to prevent skin cancer may indeed be carcinogenic? I think we have created an environment that is so permeated with toxins that it's virtually impossible to scientifically isolate the carcinogen, or combination of, that may be implicated in a particular disease.

Thank you, Ms. Ogletree, for sharing your self with us so that we may have the opportunity, as a community, to offer caring thoughts and prayers to help you in your healing, whether we know you or not. After all, we humans have so much more in common than difference.

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3 - pstern   9 Oct 2011 @ 1:28:32 PM 

You are correct, hb, it is ironic and tragic at the same time.


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4 - j.ogletree   11 Oct 2011 @ 10:44:50 AM 
I'm not pointing my finger definitively at sunscreen because there is no way to ever know for sure. My cancer was hormone receptor positive, and I unknowingly had smeared hormone disruptors on my skin daily for years. Also, I was told during an oncology appointment (and have read similar research online) that extreme stress or trauma can trigger the cancer growth. I've had an atypical share of that for quite a duration. Is it one? The other? Perhaps a combination of the two, one making me susceptible and the other getting me? I just don't know and never will. But something did cause it, and I do point my finger in the direction of those two factors because I'm "young," don't have the family history and don't have any other lifestyle risk factors.

I failed to mention a study I came across linking tomato paste and olive oil to sun protection. You're supposed to take it regularly, and I'm unclear on whether it does anything for UVA rays; however, anything it does is better than nothing. The study had some people taking just olive oil and some tomato paste combined with olive oil, and "by week 10, the tomoato-paste group showed 40 percent less sun damage than the olive-oil eaters did."

Pstern, I am definitely interested in the cactus juice but have a question maybe you can help me with. It doesn't say online what the active ingredient in the sunscreen is. I've tried emailing the company (bounced back) and have tried calling twice (mailbox full). If you still have some, would you mind looking and sharing what the active ingredients are? I'm just skeptical, have seen "natural" baby sunscreen with oxybenzone in it.

Thank you both for your kind words. When you know something that might make a difference for someone else, I can't see not sharing and informing.

Latest Blog Post by j.ogletree -Chemicals in Sunscreen and Breast Cancer, a Possible Link?
5 - pstern   11 Oct 2011 @ 2:17:07 PM 

There are many ingredients in it that I will list below in order of largest amount of the item:

Cactus extract


Propylene Glycol

Myristyl Ether Acetate

Mineral oil USP



Celeanyl alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60

Cetyl alcohol

Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

Ammonium Hydroxide

Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Methyl Paraben (and) Propyl Paraben (Germaben II)



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6 - pstern   11 Oct 2011 @ 2:22:59 PM 

In direct response to your question about active ingredients, it seems there is a small amount of actives that are not great for you.  I guess as you stated, it's hard to find totally natureal sunscreen.  FYI, I also heard about using olive oil for this and also to rub into joints for pain relief.  Here are the active ingredients in the Cactus Juice:

Octisalate 5%

Oxybenzone 4%

Octinoxate 3.5%

Dimethicone 1%

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7 - j.ogletree   12 Oct 2011 @ 10:07:38 AM 
That's rotten. Yes, it is difficult.  The oxybenzone and octinoxate are in the most offensive category.

I went ahead and purchased one this summer I found that had chemicals in the middle category, although I've only used it a few times. We have some that contain titanium and zinc oxide (not sprays, so won't get inhaled), which are not hormone disruptors. The only downside to those is they don't go on as well. Sometimes they're hard to apply and almost always leave a white haze (but that's what we use most anyway, when we use).

Hats and long sleeve shirts or umbrellas work great when you're out in the peak hours :)

Latest Blog Post by j.ogletree -Chemicals in Sunscreen and Breast Cancer, a Possible Link?
8 - pstern   12 Oct 2011 @ 2:02:54 PM 

...and sun glasses to protect your eyes. 

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9 - salon   14 Oct 2011 @ 12:18:40 PM 

Saw this article on sunscreen and FDA rules this morning.

Boo to the people who want less regulation

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10 - pstern   14 Oct 2011 @ 12:51:28 PM 

As I often state:

"Once upon a time in America deregulation was good, but that was then and this is now."

These days there is too much greed and too little oversight by businesses over themselves for the good of the community.


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