The New Skin Cancer Threat and What You Can Do About It

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

October 05, 2012

  • How this summer’s storms may have increased your cancer risk
  • What to do while the experts argue
  • Why you must stop thinking of summer as the sunscreen season

Mother Nature dished out some impressive storms this summer. In different parts of the county, they were breathtaking, beautiful – and sometimes frightening.

And now, scientists are realizing that we may suffer some unexpected consequences long after summer – and the storms – are gone.

The explanation of the science is enough to make your head spin. But the general gist of the finding is this: your risk of skin cancer and cataracts may have skyrocketed over the summer.

Of course, politicians and scientists remain entrenched in argument and debate over climate change. And this latest study – released from Harvard University – is just more fodder for debate.

But if the scientists are right, we may have experienced an extreme and sudden ozone loss over the summer, unlike anything we’ve experienced before.

Which means that even though the seasons have changed, sun precautions are just as important as they have been the last few months. Maybe more…

For a while, it seemed like we were in a position to finally make some progress in slowing ozone depletion, and possibly even regenerating the ozone.

It was discovered in the 1970’s that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other halogenated ozone depleting substances (ODS) were mainly responsible for man-made chemical ozone depletion. After no small amount of debate and political posturing, the Montreal Protocol was passed by a number of countries, and the level of CFC’s leveled off – and then began to decline.

But the damage had been done. And now, with the recent severe storm activity, CFC’s that have not yet degraded (it takes decades) are causing trouble.

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When water vapor gets into the normally dry stratosphere, it interacts with lingering CFC’s to destroy ozone molecules. It’s the same sort of reaction that has been destroying ozone over Antarctica for more than 25 years.

But this summer is the first time we’ve had this particular interaction occur over such a densely-populated part of the earth.

Now, before you panic, know that the Harvard team of scientists is not saying this has happened for sure. But they are saying that they unexpectedly discovered that conditions for this dangerous interaction currently exist in the atmosphere above North America, and possibly elsewhere on the planet.

If they’re wrong, great. But what if they’re right?

It could mean an unprecedented number of new skin cancer cases within the new few years. And an explosion of cataracts.

Personally, I’m not willing to roll the dice. And I don’t think you should either. With this news, we have a chance to take some precautions. Here’s what I recommend…

Don’t lower your guard against the sun just because the seasons have changed and the temperature has dropped. If there is, indeed, a new hole ripped in the ozone, protection is going to be more important than ever.

1.) Protect Your Skin: Monitor your sun exposure carefully. You may want to cover up sooner, and apply natural sunscreen more often than you might have before. This is true even on cloudy days, or in lower temperatures.

2.) Protect Your Eyes: Wearing UV-protected lenses is a MUST. You might consider having lenses that offer varying shades of darkness, so that you can wear them on overcast days and still see adequately. But until we learn more about the ozone layer, if you are outside, you should be protecting your eyes. Period.

3.) Augment Your Vitamin D: Don’t forget that less sun exposure will mean you get less vitamin D naturally, through the sun. As an advocate of getting at least some of your daily vitamin D naturally, I don’t love this suggestion. But if the trade-off is that you’re risking skin cancer, I don’t know that we have a choice.

I am sure you and I haven’t heard the end of this. The Harvard scientists certainly set off a lot of bells and alarms with their announcement. Critics maintain they are just trolling for grant money. Supporters say the inevitable march to catastrophic climate change is growing.

The rest of us have to sit between the bouncing ball, and figure out how to stay safe. Take precautions now. And if it’s a false alarm, you can be mad later. But if it isn’t, you’ll be glad you did

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