Experts warn against spray-on sunscreens for children


Experts warn against spray-on sunscreens for children

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Consumer Reports is warning parents that spray-on sunscreen could put children at risk for severe allergy or asthma attacks.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration announced it was studying the product to see whether it's harmful if accidentally inhaled. The government agency has not reached a conclusion yet.

Bozeman mom Kara Albrecht and her three kids spent Thursday at Bogert Pool. Before her kids jumped in the water, she sprayed them down with sunscreen.

"I think they're great," Albrecht said, referring to spray-on sunscreen. "They give a lot better protection, where sometimes with a lotion you might miss spots."

But a new report that cautions against using spray-on sun block is making her reconsider.

"I will have to take a further look and reconsider the sprays," she said.

Consumer Reports says these sunscreens could be a problem, because when kids use spray sunscreens, they are more likely to inhale the ingredients. And that, the report says, could put children at a risk of asthma or allergy attacks.

"Until we get a little more information, I would hesitate using aerosol sunscreens," explained Allergist and Immunologist Dr. Michael Zacharisen.

He explained spray-on sunscreens won't cause asthma in children, but if your child is prone to asthma or allergies already, you should be especially careful.

"The biggest concern is kids who already have asthma have twitchy airways," Dr. Zacharisen explained. "They already have inflammation that when inhaling an irritant could aggravate it."

Mom Kim Stewart said she is not too concerned, because "none of my kids suffer from asthma."

But another mom, Jennifer Evans, who already read the findings from Consumer Reports, said she immediately switched her family's sunscreen.

"I actually don't approve of them anymore," she said. "I started reading some things about them about breathing them in and being bad for your lungs."

The FDA is now investigating. Although they have not completed an analysis yet, Zacharisen said he's offering this advice: "At this point in time, I think it's best to go with old-fashioned creams and lotions," he said.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of 30 or greater year-round for all skin types. All sunscreens need to be re-applied at least every two hours, and should be water-resistant.

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