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Sunscreens and melanoma

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Study to be published in the July issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that between 90%-95% of sunlight-induced malignant melanoma cases may be caused by wavelengths too long to be absorbed by the majority of sunscreens. The results were extrapolated from a study in heavily pigmented hybrids of platyfish and swordfish, which are highly sensitive to melanoma induction by a single exposure to UV rays. Groups of five six-day- old fish were exposed to narrow wavelength bands at 302, 313, 365, 405 and 436 nm and were evaluated four months later. Melanoma induction was seen most significantly at wavelengths of 365, 405 and 436. Most commercially available sunscreens do not effectively block UV rays longer than 320 nm. The study was conducted by Richard Setlow, et al. at Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.-based Brookhaven National Laboratory
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