Example: [Collected via e-mail, 1998]
I wanted to tell you a story about a very serious thing. We still use sun screen on our whole family, but we are more cautious now. I tell you this only to make you more aware and use caution.
When Zack was 2 years old I put on the waterproof sun screen like I always had. I don't know how but he got some in his eyes. Most likely from his hands. It happens so easily at that age or any age really.He started screaming!! So I tried to flush it out with water. But guess what? Didn't
I called the poison control center. They told me to RUSH Zack to ER NOW!! I was surprised. I got him there and they rushed me back without a second to spare. They started flushing his eyes out with special medications.
Anyway, I found out for the first time that MANY kids each year lose their sight to waterproof sun screen. It burns the eye and they lose complete sight.!!! I was appalled. I could not believe the sun screen we use to help keep our kids safe from skin cancer can make them go blind!
Well I made a big stink about it. I wrote the sun screen company and they admitted to the problem but they said something to the fact that the seriousness of getting skin cancer is much worse then the chance of going blind. I think it's wrong if just one child goes blind! They should change ingredients or should at least have a huge warning on it. But they claim that if you put a huge warning on it then parents won't use it due to fear. I
Well anyway Zack did go blind for 2 days, it was horrible. So please be careful!!! Don't stop using sun screen, just be very careful your children don't touch there eyes for at least
Origins: May 1998 saw this anonymous
We shouldn't have to tell you this, but we will anyway: That a product is waterproof doesn't mean it cannot be flushed from eyes or that it's capable of chemically bonding to eyeballs. Consider mascara, if you will. Waterproof mascara has been around for a very long time. Application problems routinely cause the product to end up in the eyes of users as well as on their lashes. Though mascara-related injuries have resulted in a number of emergency room visits over the years (2,390 in 1983, for example), not one of them has been for temporary or permanent blindness brought about by it being a waterproof product.
(In case you're interested in what does bring people into the ER with mascara-related injuries, a slip of the applicator can injure or irritate the eye, or result in infection. Bacterial contamination of the product also can represent a danger. In extreme cases, dermatologists report, mascara has caused inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane lining the eyelids, or allergic reactions.)
No company could get away with omitting a warning label on a known-to-be-hazardous product because such an admission would "scare consumers." Were that the case, you'd be hard-pressed to find warning labels on anything. Companies do not wave these red flags because they want to, but because they have to. As well, they don't get to decide which warning to display or that the health benefits the use of their products confer outweigh whatever risks the ordinary use of their products engender.
Numerous agencies have had to deal with panicked inquiries as a result of this ridiculous warning. The American Association of Poison Control Centers in Washington received numerous calls and
The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) confirmed that the sunscreen scare was "an unsubstantiated story":
In the past three weeks, the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES), which operates the New Jersey Poison Center Hotline and is located at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, received calls from concerned citizens regarding the fear that getting sunscreen in the eye will cause blindness. Many of these calls have been from parents who are worried about using sunscreen on young children. According to Steven
If you get sunscreen (or most any other foreign object) in your eye, rinse it out with plain old H2O.
Barbara "water you waiting for?" Mikkelson
Last updated: 31 December 2005
Blumenthal, Deborah. "Beauty: Lasting Lashes." The New York Times. 17 March 1985 (p. F58). Hill, Alma E. "Sunscreen Blindness Letter Is Called a Hoax." The San Diego Union-Tribune. 15 September 1998 (p. 9). Oldenburg, Don. "Sunscreen Blinding Hoax." Washington Post. 14 July 1999 (p. C4). Pallasch, Abdon. "Net Sunscreen Myth Burns Doctors." Chicago Sun-Times. 15 July 1999.