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Sunscreens May Not Stop Cancer

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LONDON, Sep 29, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- British scientists believe harmful ultraviolet light can penetrate even when sunscreen creams are used correctly.

Researchers at the Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust in London said part of the problem is that creams actually afford most protection against UVB rays -- rays defined as capable of harming organisms.

While these rays may cause redness and burning and some forms of cancer, RAFT's research suggests UVA -- rays defined in the electromagnetic spectrum as not harmful to organisms -- is the main cause of malignant melanoma and premature aging.

The researchers used a new technique to detect free radicals -- chemicals that can destroy cells -- that are thought to cause melanomas that are released when UVA light penetrates skin.

"Creams encourage people to stay longer in the sun and the protection afforded by them against UVB rays far outweighs that against UVA," a spokeswoman for RAFT told the London Mirror. "The use of sunscreen creams may, therefore, indirectly increase the risk of developing the skin malignancy melanoma."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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