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Are Spray Sunscreens Safe? 3 Things to Know as FDA Investigates

The first item on any good summer safety checklist is usually sunscreen. But rather than opting for the old-fashioned rub-on varieties of sunscreen, both sun worshipers and parents alike are relying more and more on the convenience of spray sunscreens to help guard against the danger of over-exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays.

But while they may be convenient, consumer watchdogs are now being joined by the Food and Drug Administration in asking: Are spray sunscreens safe?

According to Chicago's WBBM-TV, the FDA is investigating the health risks of using spray sunscreens, requesting data from manufacturers on both the products' effectiveness and the potential health hazards posed by unintentional inhalation.

As the FDA's investigation continues, what do consumers need to know? Here are three things to consider when using spray sunscreen:

  1. Be aware of the risk of inhalation. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based public health interest group, warns that spray sunscreens may pose serious inhalation risks. Consumer Reports, noting the FDA's investigation, also advises against spraying sunscreen directly onto your face, which increases the possible risk of inhalation. Instead, the magazine recommends spraying the sunscreen into your hands and then applying it to your face.
  2. Spray sunscreen is potentially flammable. Spray sunscreen also has been known to catch people wearing it on fire. An FDA notice last year warned that five people had suffered serious burns after applying spray sunscreen and standing too close to a flame or heat source. Even if your sprayed-on sunscreen feels dry to the touch, it's best to avoid getting too close to any fires following use of a spray sunscreen
  3. You may not want to use spray sunscreen directly on kids. Consumer Reports recommends avoiding the use of spray sunscreens on children until the FDA determines whether or not they pose a hazard.

If you do choose to use a spray sunscreen, be sure to adequately cover the areas of your body exposed to the sun. One thing that is beyond question is that a sunburn can be a major pain in the neck, ear or anywhere else that you may have forgot to put sunscreen.

And if you are somehow injured by the use of spray sunscreen, seek medical help right away. It may also be wise to keep the spray canister as evidence and then call an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your options.

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