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FDA Investigates Safety Of Spray-On Sunscreen

By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV
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Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV Medical Reporter Dr. Mallika Marshall
Dr. Mallika Marshall is WBZ-TV News’ Medical Reporter and contributes...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The Food and Drug Administration will be taking a closer look at spray sunscreens to see if they might pose health risks, especially in children.

Amanda Albee of Dorchester uses spray sunscreens on her three young children because it’s fast. “It’s a little less messy,” she says.

Lisa Turse from Framingham stopped using spray sunscreens on her two girls, partly because they’re aerosols. “The spray, I think, is going into their lungs along with everybody else’s when you spray it.”

Read: Stow Man Burned By Spray-On Sunscreen

Turse is among a growing number of parents and experts who are worried about what breathing in these chemicals could be doing to young lungs.

Dr. Bernard Kinane is a pediatric pulmonologist at Mass General Hospital for Children. He says the concern is not that the chemicals could cause cancer down the road, but could act as irritants, especially in kids with asthma. “The thing they could do is irritate your lungs and make you feel wheezy,” he explains. “That means you could feel a little short of breath after inhaling them.”

Dr. Kinane, who has used spray sunscreens on his kids, says there are some precautions parents can take. Use them in a well-ventilated area, like outside, and tell your child to hold his breath while spraying.

Dr. Kinane says you certainly shouldn’t avoid using spray sunscreens if that’s all you have because it’s much more important to protect your kids from UV radiation. “I think the risk is very low compared to the benefit of preventing skin cancer,” he says. “I say if this is what’s available and the child can hold their breath and use in a ventilated area and use common sense, I would use them.”

Albee says her children are too young to follow those directions so for now, she’ll switch back to the creams and lotions.

MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON

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