Evaluation Of Sunscreen Ingredients, Safety, And Policies In The United States
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Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, exceeding incidences of all other cancers combined. The most significant factor in the development of skin cancers is exposure to UV radiations. Therefore, sunscreen has been hailed as a cheap and effective tool to limit UV exposure, thereby preventing skin cancers and other skin diseases. However, in the past decade, some common sunscreen ingredients have been criticized as potential endocrine disruptors, which can cause hormone imbalance and lead to serious health issues. Given the prevalence of skin cancer and sunscreen use in our society, there is much incentive to expand on previous and ongoing scholarship by weighing the efficacy of some sunscreen chemicals in preventing skin diseases given the potential harm of endocrine disruption. The main purpose of the thesis is to understand the existing public view of sunscreen use, and to assess how college students’ opinions change or do not change when they are presented with two opposing bodies of evidence surrounding the efficiency and safety of sunscreen. This thesis investigates the debate on the efficacy and safety of sunscreen by 1) understanding the health issues surrounding them, 2) comparing the list of federally-approved sunscreen ingredients in the United States to those of Australia, and 3) using a self-reported survey to understand the sun behavior and awareness among undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. As a conclusion to this study, suggestions regarding the use of sunscreen and future policy actions are recommended.