FDA Details Danger Posed By Flammable Sunscreen Sprays

Posted on July 8, 2013

Late last week, citizens across the nation got together to celebrate Independence Day, and we sincerely hope that your family escaped the celebration unscathed by burns and other hazards.  However, it’s important to understand that certain risks inherent in July Fourth celebrations don’t simply go away; they could be present throughout the entirety of the summer.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration released a warning about flammable sunscreen sprays that all consumers should recognize.  Prompted by a series of accidents that left five sunscreen users with burns on a portion of their body, the FDA has begun to get the word out about the potential danger created when sunscreen meets an open flame.

The reasons for the burns were manifold.  One individual was welding, another was smoking a cigarette, someone got too close to a grill and another person was burned near a candle.  Those incidents led the sunscreens involved to be recalled, and thus you shouldn’t be able to find them in stores.

However, many families place sunscreens in storage for the greater part of the year, bringing them out for those few times they travel to the beach or some such locale.  It’s therefore possible that the recalled product is still out there somewhere.  In addition, it’s not only sunscreen that could pose a threat; insect repellants, hairsprays, and more could all burn a user if the flammable substances therein make contact with an open flame.

Perhaps the best way that consumers can protect themselves from this danger is to invest in sunscreens and other products that don’t contain flammable materials.  That way, you don’t leave yourself at risk of a burn, which is still possible with flammable substances even if you’ve gone some time since applying the sunscreen.  Your skin might feel dry but in reality a flammable substance is still present and could catch fire.

That doesn’t mean that consumers should avoid sunscreen altogether.  Far from it.  Sunscreen is still important to apply so that you can protect your skin from sun damage.  When you invest in sunscreen, apply a product with an SPF higher than 15.  And remember that flammability resistance can be just as important as water resistance when open flames are present.

If you’re unsure of the type of sunscreen you’re about to apply, for instance if a bottle is being passed around at a get-together, then take other precautions.  Stay away from cigarettes, grills, fireworks, and anything else that can create a spark.  Finally, realize that flame-resistant sunscreen is even more important when being applied to kids.  They might not pay as much attention to the circumvention of flames as you would, and thus it’s imperative that they not be lathered with sunscreen that could catch fire.

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