Target: Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of Food and Drugs
Goal: Ban the use of anatase titanium oxide in sunscreens and increase overall safety through close assessment and proper labeling of ingredients.
Applying sunscreen is not typically an action one associates with affliction. In fact, the benefits of regular sunscreen use, especially in regards to preventing skin cancer and slowing premature aging of the skin, have been studied and proven time and time again. However, many harmful ingredients often go into the making of sunscreen with little to no regulation. Many scientists and healthcare professionals have questioned the safety of applying such toxic chemicals to our skin, yet the FDA has yet to increase regulation of sunscreen ingredients.
Recently, Friends of the Earth US and Australia have put out reports citing many major brands, including CoverGirl, L’Oreal and Nivea, that include hazardous forms of anatase titanium oxide and nano anatase titanium oxide in the formulation of their sunscreen and cosmetic products. While these are just two of many toxic ingredients commonly used in the manufacture of sunscreen (others include oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and other skin-damaging free radicals), they are potentially the most dangerous. In 2008, a study revealed that coatings used on steel roofs were breaking down rapidly when hit by direct sunlight. Further analysis revealed that workers who had applied sunscreen to their hands and then worked on coating the roofs had led to the breakdown process when nano anatase titanium oxide from the sunscreen interacted with sunlight. This, and other similar studies, has led to an ever-increasing concern about the safety of applying sunscreen containing such chemicals directly onto one’s skin. In Europe, these concerns were enough to prompt an increase in safety assessment and toxic ingredient labeling, but the US has yet to take similar action.
The FDA remains apathetic in regards to increasing sunscreen safety, putting all who use these products at risk. Demand that the FDA ban harmful ingredients such as anatase titanium oxide and nano anatase titanium oxide and regulate the production and labeling of sunscreen in the US.
Dear FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg,
The use of toxic ingredients in the manufacture of sunscreen in the US is a disturbingly common practice that puts the public at great risk. Consumers are often unaware of the negative effects some sunscreens can have because products are not properly labeled, and many advertising techniques are misleading. However, studies have shown that ingredients such as anatase titanium oxide can lead to rapid deterioration, while ingredients such as oxybenzone can lead to certain cancers. It is important that the use of potentially harmful ingredients be addressed and monitored in order to protect consumers. Furthermore, labeling of these toxic ingredients is essential to educate consumers and steer them toward informed decisions.
I urge you to ban the use of anatase titanium oxide and other nano-ingredients in the manufacture of sunscreen in the United States, and to enforce safety assessment and regulation of these products. Furthermore, I ask that you implement proper labeling of sunscreen and other cosmetics, thereby increasing public awareness and safety.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute via Wikipedia