Sunscreen- some say you need it all the time, others say it is harmful. Bug spray. You need it protect yourself from bites and possibly diseases that come with them, but it has been revealed to contain toxic chemicals The conflicting information surrounding summer necessities can be overwhelming. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) breaks down thousands of products, rating them based on whether they have dangerous chemicals, and, if so, how much.
Sunscreens: The group found that two-thirds of sunscreens contain oxybenzone, a known allergen and hormone disruptor that has had damaging effects on the ocean ecosystem. Many also contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that is known to harm the skin. The FDA has found that higher SPFs often do not provide extra protection, and may lead people to spend more time in the sun. The best plan, they say, is to avoid the sun during peak hours, cover yourself with clothes and wear sunglasses. If you do need a sunscreen, some brands that scored well include Neutrogena, Tom's of Maine and Banana Boat. To find the best sunscreen for you, find the complete report here.
Bug Sprays: Most of us cringe when we apply bug spray just based on the strong chemical scent alone. DEET, which was often promoted as the most effective ingredient in repelling bugs, has received negative press due to the fact that it is considered a neurotoxin. The EWG has found that it is relatively safe in small amounts, and should be an option where disease-carrying insects are prevalent. Other options include Picaradin and IR3535, which have fewer risks but are nearly as effective as DEET. For those who favor botanicals, oil of lemon eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary are options. For more on bug repellents, find the link here.