Tag Archives: FDA

The best beach & sports sunscreens

The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals for the skin to absorb, no questions about whether the product works, no bogus claims like “sunblock.” (No conventional product blocks out all rays. That’s why the FDA is trying to ban the term. )

But when you can’t avoid exposing your skin to the sun, use EWG’s Sunscreen Guide to find top-rated sunscreens with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection but fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin.

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The list has narrowed down over 1800 sunscreens to 188 of the best beach/sport options.

Each one contain the minerals zinc or titanium. They are the right choices for people who want the best UVA protection without any chemical considered to be a potential hormone disruptor. None of the products contain oxybenzone or vitamin A, and none are sprayed or powdered.

See if your sunscreen is on the list, or find one to buyEWG Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide 2012

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Sunscreen prevents sunburns, but little else is known about their safety

Sunscreens prevent sunburns, but beyond that simple fact surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of these ubiquitous creams and sprays.

FDA’s failure to finalize its 1978 sunscreen safety standards both epitomizes and perpetuates this state of confusion. EWG’s review of the latest research unearthed troubling facts that might tempt you to give up on sunscreens altogether.

That’s not the right answer – despite the unknowns about their efficacy, public health agencies still recommend using sunscreens, just not as your first line of defense against the sun.

Here are the surprising facts:

- No consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer.

- Some evidence that sunscreens might increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people.

- The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed the development of cancer.

- Free radicals and other skin-damaging byproducts of sunscreen.

- Pick your sunscreen: nanomaterials or potential hormone disruptors.

- Europe’s better sunscreens.

- The 34th summer in a row without final U.S. sunscreen safety regulations.

 

keep reading – each fact has an explanation at EWG

 

// Thx to Swiss Miss, Photo via Robert S. Donovan

FDA ruling – cigarette makers must be transparent about chemical additives

A ruling by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires tobacco companies to be transparent about the chemicals in their products. This hasn’t yet happened, despite all the warnings and labels on cigarettes, and it’s no wonder considering:

“Over 7,000 chemicals and chemical compounds are present in tobacco and the smoke that emanates from tobacco. A list of 93 HPHCs has been established by the FDA that tobacco companies will need to inform consumers about in their products sold throughout the country.”

The act, called the The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, requires “makers of tobacco products, as well as importers, to report what HPHCs (harmful and potentially harmful constituents) exist in their products or the smoke that comes from their products, by brand and sub-brand.”

“They will also have to back up any “reduced harm” claims with compelling proof, the Agency added.”

It will be interesting to see what the results of this are. I have smoked tobacco products sold in other countries, from Europe to the Caribbean, and noticed a vast difference in the quality. Not to mention a seemingly lower amount chemicals in them, meaning I cough less, have less aftertaste, and don’t get as addicted.

 

// Quotes from Medical News Today, thx to Amelia S.

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Immunotherapy – teaching the immune system to fight cancer – receives new FDA approval

The concept of ‘teaching’ the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells is over a century old, but the development of immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer was slow for many decades. However, much has been learned about the immune system in the meantime, and with the recent approval of two new immunotherapeutic anticancer drugs and several drugs in late-stage development, a new era in anticancer immunotherapy is beginning.

The video takes an audio-visual journey through the different approaches that are being investigated to harness the immune system to treat cancer.

 

For more, check out the Nature Reviews Drug Discovery poster (pdf):

 

 

// Thx to Derya Unutmaz

Why is Dentistry so out of date?

Brushing, flossing, white strips and mouthwash: Thanks for all the help, but your services may no longer be required. The end of the cavity could be upon us.

UCLA microbiologist Dr. Wenyuan Shi has developed a mouthwash that completely eliminates the most malevolent of the 1,000 species of bacteria that can live in your mouth—after just one use. In a clinical study, 12 subjects who rinsed just one time with the mouthwash experienced a nearly complete elimination of the baleful bacteria, Streptococcus mutans. Four days after the first rinse, their mouths remained mutans-free.

Shi’s mouthwash is currently being tested by the FDA . If the mouthwash passes that hurdle, it will be the first cavity fighter approved since fluoride 60 years ago.

“I actually had no dental training,” Shi recalls, laughing. But once he began teaching, he was struck by how, in a country where we can reduce the risk of heart attacks and diabetes, battle cancer and lower cholesterol, dentistry remained out of date. The scientist-scholar resolved to work toward converting dentistry from a surgical model to a medical model.

“Last year in American health spending, heart disease was No. 1, cancer was No. 2 and dentistry was No. 3,” Shi notes. “We spent about $100 billion. In part, because it’s so old-fashioned. Mechanical removal is still the primary tool.”

via UCLA Magazine

Got Adderall? The Great D.E.A. Versus F.D.A. Duke-Out

Maybe you heard about The Great Adderall Shortage of 2011 that impacted “millions of children and adults” who rely on the pills to help stay focused and calm? Maybe you haven’t.

In terms of national crises, like joblessness and obesity, I wouldn’t rank it at the top of the list (although a country producing drug-addicted college graduates should be a concern), and yet it’s become very much a crisis for people dependent, or more accurately, addicted to the drug.

At the heart of the shortage is an ever-growing struggle between the F.D.A., who recently included several attention-deficit disorder drugs on its official shortages list, and the D.E.A. who is trying to minimize abuse by people, many of them college students who use the medication as a study aid.

It’s become so much of a problem in academia that colleges like Duke University have issued new policies to address misuse, qualifying it as cheating:

The unauthorized use of prescription medication to enhance academic performance has been added to the definition of Cheating.

The D.E.A., who authorizes a certain amount the core ingredient of Adderall — mixed amphetamine salts — to be released to drugmakers each year based on what the agency considers to be the country’s legitimate medical need, finds itself embroiled in a growing epidemic.

In 2010, more than 18 million prescriptions were written for Adderall, up 13.4 percent from 2009, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription data.

As someone who has been on, and gotten off Adderall, I’m steadfastly in the D.E.A.’s corner. It is a highly addictive drug with serious side effects, especially after continued use, and can create more problems than it solves. Go to any ADHD forum/message board and read the testimonials of folks dealing with its impacts.