We at ACSH operate on a tight budget, but somehow managed to scrape up enough money to buy our good friends over at the Environmental Working Group an oversized beach umbrella. It would seem that they have been out in the sun too long, and are not thinking especially clearly about a summertime issue: How to protect yourself from getting too much sun.
If you take them seriously, you better start saving up for a submarine, cause it s dangerous up here.
Why? The group has issued a statement, which says that you are all going to die. But if you use sunscreen, you may die sooner. Perhaps even more than once. There are some REALLY terrible chemicals in there. Like vitamin A.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom posits, The EWG must really hate vitamin A. Not only do they not want you using it, but they also oppose golden rice a genetically modified form of rice that contains beta-carotene, which is a metabolic precursor for the vitamin.
The only problem is, he continues, is that if you happen to live in an area primarily in underdeveloped countries where there is no source of beta-carotene in your diet (rice has none), life is no day at the beach. Which is probably irrelevant, since the hundreds of thousands of children that go blind and die every year from vitamin A deficiency are unlikely to be in the mood to go boogie boarding.
According to the Merck Manual, the treatment for vitamin A deficiency is vitamin A palmitate, aka retinyl palmitate.
Yet, the EWG calls retinyl palmitate a hazardous chemical, because it is linked to skin damage. This must cause Whole Foods shoppers to suffer serious emotional trauma, since this hazardous chemical is part of a supplement sold at their stores for babies.
So, which bastion of science do you believe? EWG or Whole Foods?
It would seem that Whole Foods better pull that stuff off the shelf but fast, since the EWG warning on vitamin A palmitate looks like this:
Dr. Bloom comments: OK, does anyone in his or her right mind really believe that the above graphic represents anything even remotely based on reality? How can we be expected to believe anything that these nuts say if they really believe that vitamin A has a high overall hazard?
But, hang on a minute, folks! EWG has another mega-poison that they want to keep out of sunscreen oxybenzone, which has been approved for this use for 35 years. They have been constantly whining about this one calling it an endocrine disruptor which causes biochemical and cellular level change. Is this even scarier than a vitamin? See for yourself.
This one seems pretty bad too, but not AS bad. They don t want to restrict it quite as much as much as the vitamin, but it must still be pretty awful, since its overall hazard rating seems to be just a teensy bit less.
Seriously folks. How can this group make these statements with a straight face and expect anyone to believe anything they say. This is nothing but an attention-grabbing bunch of idiocy.
Even worse than their usual brand of scare-mongering, is the likelihood that some folks will swallow this load of junk and avoid using sunscreens altogether a sure way to really increase your health risk. Do they know what they re talking about? Nope. We hope our Dispatch readers know that UV protection is very important, so feel free to use these products, or a mineral-based sunblock. These contain zinc or titanium and work like paint. They are perfectly fine too.