Spray Tan Warning: Possible Fertility Issues and Birth Defects

Robert Jonathan - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 9:43 p.m. ET

European health authorities are joining their U.S. counterparts to warn about the dangerous chemical cocktail in spray tanning products which could make conception more difficult and may even lead to birth defects.

The chemical dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in particular, which is the active ingredient in these products, has now come under much scrutiny as investigations suggest that the main ingredient in spray-on tans are causing genetic alterations and DNA damage that can greatly affect users of the product. Medical experts ranging from dermatology doctors to pulmonary medicine have indicated “concerns” about the impact of the tanning compounds if they were to find its way into the bloodstream or inhaled, which is likely since the products are generally sprayed all over the body.

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According to London’s Daily Mail, “The products often also contain carcinogens, including formaldehyde and nitrosamines, as well as skin irritants and chemicals linked to allergies, diabetes, obesity and fertility problems.”

Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency, told the Daily Mail that the chemicals in spray tans “may be a contributing factor behind the significant increases in cancers, diabetes, obesity and falling fertility.” Elizabeth Salter-Green, of the UK charity the Chem Trust, added that “many of the chemicals in fake tan are toxic to reproduction and can harm a foetus.”

The Daily Mail admits, however, that no tests as yet have been carried out on humans showing that spray-on tanning is harmful or cancerous, although presumably such clinical testing is in the works.

Although this latest warning is bad news for all those women with orange-hued skin on reality TV, among others, all-natural tanning products are apparently coming to market.


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