Monday, August 5, 2013

Consumer Warning: Spray Sunscreens Can Catch Fire

Spray sunscreens can be very convenient.  What you may not know is that if you apply certain sunscreen sprays and then come close to a source of flame, you may risk the sunscreen catching fire and giving you a serious burn.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become aware of five separate incidents in which people wearing sunscreen spray near sources of flame suffered significant burns that required medical treatment.

The specific products reportedly used in these cases were voluntarily recalled from the market, so they should no longer be on store shelves. However, many other sunscreen spray products contain flammable ingredients (commonly alcohol). It's commonly known that you should never apply a product labeled as flammable while you are near a source of flame. It's important to note, that in the 5 cases reported to the FDA, the burns occurred after the sunscreen spray had been applied.

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. 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.

"Based on this information, we recommend that after you have applied a sunscreen spray labeled as flammable, you consider avoiding being near an open flame, sparks or an ignition source," says Narayan Nair, M.D., a lead medical officer at FDA.

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