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When the whole sunlight/skin cancer panic burst on the scene, I mostly pooh-poohed it. Sure, severe sunburn or spending 10 hours a day on the beach in a bathing suit for your whole life will probably have some negative effects, but the mass hysteria that led to SPF numbers higher than most people's IQs and parents afraid to bring their children outside without a protective tent was laughable and pathetic. People were quite literally afraid of their own shadows.

Now the pendulum is swinging the other way. It turns out that sunscreen causes cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Well, indirectly, at least.
A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found. The evidence for the protective effect of the "sunshine vitamin" is so overwhelming that urgent action must be taken by public health authorities... the increasing use of sunscreens and the reduced time spent outdoors, especially by children, has contributed to what many scientists believe is an increasing problem of vitamin D deficiency.

I find this hilarious. This is what people get when they substitute somebody else's judgment for their own. This is what happens when government sets about trying to make value judgments and risk assessment for a whole bunch of people at once.

Let's just sit back and enjoy the spectacle of the masses frantically flocking to the beach and the tanning salons, all gloriously sans cocoa butter, and then the dire warnings, a few years from now, about a new increase in skin cancers. Does anybody understand the concept of moderation anymore?

But at least maybe now the term "healthy tan" will no longer be on the semi-official PC banned list. I'm looking forward to the re-emergence of tan lines.


You make a great point. Moderation is the key. Use sunscreen when you will be out for many hours at the beach. Otherwise, spend some time outdoors and enjoy. Fantastic post and site.

Posted by The Complimenting Commenter at Friday, December 30, 2005 10:54 AM

The only prudent course is to minimize your anxiety level. By corollary, avert your eyes from the scare talk, regardless of focus, regardless of intensity, and regardless of the paucity of other periodical reading material!

Posted by Francis W. Porretto at Friday, December 30, 2005 03:32 PM

I like to chose science reports that agree with what I want to do.

I ignore the rest.

Posted by allan at Saturday, December 31, 2005 02:14 AM


You've got a great blog, but Jeez, reading just one article wears me out, let alone catching up on the backlog... I'm going to have to pencil in a whole day in the future for "Read EternityRoad" ;-)


I'll take that as sarcasm, certainly welcome here. Though there is a kernel of truth in it, as these days it seems there's a "scientific" report out there to support any position you care to take. It's hard to take any of them seriously.

Is your url supposed to be read as "Charity(')s Hill" or "Charity Shill"?

Posted by kylben at Saturday, December 31, 2005 10:00 AM

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