Spray-on sunscreens may pose potential risks to young children

Published: Jun. 17, 2014 at 1:23 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2014 at 3:05 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Do you use spray-on sunscreens on your children? The FDA is looking into the potential risks they pose, particularly to younger children.

Spray cans of sunscreen are convenient when spraying down children, especially while they're squirming. That is now the main concern; young children who are most likely to squirm are the ones most likely to breathe in the ingredients you're spraying.

"It's just my go-to," said Jennifer Patrick. "It's faster and I can do it here and not have to think about it ahead of time."

Jennifer Patrick is a habitual sunscreen sprayer on her two daughters.

"It's usually just quicker, it dries a lot faster than the other kind, it's not sticky on them, they don't complain as much about it," Patrick said.

The Consumer Reports website, however, suggests that she might want to think again. The website has amended its list of recommended sunscreens to remove sprays while the FDA researches the risks.

"Anything you put in the body has the potential for side effects," says pediatrician Dr. Jeffery Simon. "The question there is what's bad about it? Is it chemicals directly, or is it the fact that the chemicals irritate the lungs, the spray, can it trigger asthma attacks?"

Simon urges parents to think less about the potential dangers of sunscreen, and more about how much it's really needed.

"Some people tan easier, they probably have less of a need for sunblock than people who have fair skin and burn easy."

Jennifer is aware of the Consumer reports warning, but she's still spraying.

"I will keep on using this," Patrick said. "We're outside, we're not in an enclosed environment, I'm not spraying it on their face, I usually use the lotion for their face."

Dr. Simon agrees with Jennifer.

"Outside air is five times cleaner than inside air."

You don't have to throw away all the spray cans you've stocked up for the summer, just spray it into your hands and rub it onto skin.

Again, the warning is for young children. Spray sunscreens are still safe for adults and older children who can close their eyes and mouth

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.