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Beware of Flammable Sunscreen: Five Victims so far

Update Date: Jul 23, 2013 09:41 AM EDT

Sunscreen is used to protect the skin from harmful sun radiation that can lead to dangerous skin cancers, premature aging and sunburns. Although this product is supposed to protect the skin from developing nasty red blotches under the heat of the sun, it can ironically also ignite real burns. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people who prefer sunscreen in a spray bottle must be aware of the potential risk factors involved. The FDA has issued a warning reminding consumer that some sunscreen products can cause fires when applied near open flames. The FDA has reported that five people from different cases have suffered a severe burn due to a sunscreen spray bottle.

"The ignition sources were varied and involved lighting a cigarette, standing too close to a lit citronella candle, approaching a grill, and in one case, doing some welding," the FDA announced. "These incidents suggest that there is a possibility of catching fire if you are near an open flame or a spark after spraying on a flammable sunscreen - even if you believe you have waited a sufficient time for the sunscreen to dry and your skin feels dry."

The five victims had all been hospitalized for their burns. The products involved in these cases have all been removed from the shelves throughout the nation. However, there could still be products that are flammable on the market, which is why the FDA has stressed that people be aware of their surroundings before applying sunscreen. Not only can a fire ignite when sunscreen is being applied, the FDA warns consumers that even if the product feels dried on one's skin, it could still cause a fire. Due to the uncertainty of whether or not the sunscreen has fully dried enough to be safe, the FDA suggests that people take precautionary measures and avoid open flames.

"Based on this information, we recommend that after you have applied a sunscreen spray labeled as flammable chemicals, you consider avoiding being near an open flame, sparks or an ignition sources," the FDA stated in the news release.

The FDA remind consumers that sunscreen products that have alcohol, which is an ingredient that can be found in spray bottles and in non-spray bottles, are all considered flammable. When applying these items, check the list of ingredients and be aware of one's surroundings. Aside from the ingredient of alcohol, the FDA has provided a list of certain products that have been recalled due to the incidents. The recalled items are all under Energizer Holdings Inc., who voluntarily decided to announce the recall due to the potential risks involved. The products are all Banana Boat sunscreens and the exact bottles and UPC labels can be found here. Even though the recall occurred in 2012, sunscreen generally lasts a long time, which is why is still important to check your bottles before using them.

The FDA also reminds consumers that there are several products that are being used everyday and have the potential to cause severe burns as well. These products include hairsprays, hair products and insect repellants. Consumers should pay more attention to the risk factors involved with every item that they put on their body in order to reduce their risks of suffering from a burn.

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