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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is your family's sunscreen safe?

So, if you're like me, you assume that when you purchase something that has the word "baby" in the title, it's safe to use on baby, right?  Well, perhaps.  And perhaps not.  Ugh. I know.  Just goes to show we can't buy into the marketing these companies send us.  Just one more thing for us Moms to research, right?

But I have some good news!  One of my friends recently introduced me to the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) website.  EWG is a nonprofit group that provides the results of their research to find healthy choices for everything we purchase to ultimately protect the public health and environement.  They offer oodles of information on what is safe ~ from lotions and makeup to deoderant and the produce we purchase for our families.  They are a one-stop shop for checking all the products you already have, and for finding safe ones to purchase in the future.  Meaning healthy choices for you, and a very small time commitment in which to find them!

The EWG rates everything on a 1-10 scale, with 0-2 being "recommended," 3-6 meaning "{use} caution," and 7-10 being "avoid."  And, according to EWG's website, there is currently a "surge in exaggerated SPF claims above 50 and new disclosures about potentially hazardous ingredients, in particular recently developed government data linking vitamin A to accelerated growth of skin tumors and lesions."  Scary stuff.  So, the main precaution here is finding products with the fewest chemicals possible that could penetrate the skin. Regarding sunscreens, here are a few from their "recommended" list:

*Alba Botanica Sun, Mineral Sunscreen Kids, SPF 30

*California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+

*Goddess Garden Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

These all rank 2 or less, and there are many, many more options on their website.  Interestingly enough, if you're like me, I found most of these to be brands I'd never heard of before, but the redeeming part is that once you click on any of the sunscreens, the EWG site provides a link you can click to find online retailers who offer these products.  Oh, and one other word of caution is that you can't think that just because it's a certain brand, it's safe to use.  For example, some of the Neutrogena sunscreens rank as "3" and some as "7"!!  Huge variety - so be sure to check each specific type.  And to make it easier while going out shopping, there is an 2010 Sunscreen app for your iPhone if you happen to have one.  So, there's no excuse not to get out there and find some of these!!

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