07 July 2009


You know how many runners and non-runners use sunscreen. Billions perhaps around the globe. I used to myself. (I know some runners who also heavily use this product). So, it was alarming to find out last night before going to bed that some sunscreens contain a harmful chemical called Benzophenone (BP-3) after reading from 27 April 2009 issue of NEWSWEEK. There is this article written by Daniel Goleman entitled "Truth and Consequences. Now we can trace the real environmental impact of the stuff we buy. How to raise your own eco-IQ". He has also written a book - ECOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE: How Knowing The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything. The article says, among others, that there is something in sunscreen that helps the growth of a deadly virus in coral reef. To think, how many swimmers visit the beaches yearly. Staggering.

Further research on Google reveals this website containing another alarming news that BP-3 could be a hormone disruptor: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2008160660_healthpharm07.html. Some also say that sunscreen disrupts the body's absorption of Vitamin D.

This brings back memories of my grandfather and his farm workers who practically spent all their lives managing and tilling the land and being exposed to sun. Yet my "lolo" remained skin cancer-free by simply using common sense and this was even before the advent of sunscreen. He and his tillers had this schedule. They woke up around 4AM or earlier before the sun came up and after eating their simple healthy breakfast consisting of coffee, rice and a dish to match it with or a variation of a rice dish like "champorado", porridge, etc. or bread called pandesal and a fruit in season, they headed out to work in hat, long sleeve shirt (cotton), pants and slippers or barefoot. Perhaps, they had the least pleasing feet to show. Heck, perhaps even ugly and dirty but I bet their feet are stronger than most of us.

Depending on the weather, they stayed out there ONLY UNTIL the sun became bearable. Meaning, it only made sense to stay out of the sun when it became too hot. (I think the animals even have the sense to hide when sun is way up in the sky). They rested during lunchtime and started working only around 2PM. And as if unwittingly following the natural cycle in the animal kingdom, they stopped working when the sun came down. They slept as early as 6AM.

There you have it folks. I am not saying that some of you become an agricultural worker of some sort. Perhaps, it pays to be more sensitive to what Nature has been telling us all along.


  1. I don't know Jon, back in the days of our lolo's and lola's we didn't have holes in our ozone layer. I'm a big believer in sunscreen they just need to make better ones.

    By the way I just got hungry with your talk about Champorado and Pandesal. I'm working at a friends design studio and didn't have time to grab some breakfast. Man some hot Pandesal would be great right now, I heard they even have whole wheat versions now for the health conscious.

  2. THanks for the info on this. I often forget to put on sunscreen but I try to be finished by 6 - 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends to avoid getting the worst of it. I also run in tree shaded areas like UP instead of the Fort where you are at the mercy of the sun's rays.

  3. I checked the content of the sunscreen that I'm using (Hawaiian Tropic Ozone 70 SPF)but found none of the benzophenone (bp 3) on it. Maybe, we should read first the label before purchasing one.

    Nice post. God bless!

  4. seriously speaking, after an incident where the sunscreen lotion from my forehead dripped with my sweat into my eyes that i completely stopped using sunscreen lotion on my running workouts. i only used such lotion when i play golf. now, i use a long-sleeved shirt & cap when i run up to 9-10AM..nice reminder to our runners & ultrarunners. nice post!

  5. Rick - We have the best pandesal here. The heavy and yummy kind. Maybe, a good bread for peanut butter and jelly during ultras. Old style unlike the ones now which are mostly air inside. I haven't eaten champorado in a while. Now, I am hungry again. Dang :)

    Jay - Hey, congratulations on a fast qualifying time during Milo and good luck on your Run Radio! Cool.

    Ronnie - I'm unsure if BP-3 will show on the label. I used to have Hawaiian too and it is still 2/3 full.

    Sir Jovie - It stings the eyes when the lotion mixes up with sweat.

  6. I run in the evenings now. Lessened my expenses on sunscreens. But added on AAA batteries for my LED light. hehe