The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Skin cancer

Sunscreen has its own side effects

Regarding the Tuesday editorial "Revamp sunscreen image": Aspirin producers are raking in big profits as a result of the notion that an "aspirin a day" will prevent heart attacks and strokes. Never mind the big negative side effect of stomach bleeding. If you believe that artery disease is caused by an aspirin deficiency, I have a deal for you on a bridge in Brooklyn. Studies have shown that a small piece of dark chocolate per day has the same blood thinning effect as aspirin, without the negative side effects. Diet and lifestyle are the answers.
Protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure is important. The operative word here is "excessive." The idea you are promoting that you not leave your home unless you "slop on sunscreen" is contributing to a growing epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, especially in the northern two thirds of the country. Among the definitions of "slop" Webster lists: "liquid refuse." Studies are showing that some of the chemicals in the products that you suggest to "slop on" may be contributing to skin cancer. Vitamin D is essential for: absorption of other nutrients, heart function, prevention of cancer, thyroid function, enhancing immunity. Bare skin exposure to the sun for 15-20 minutes, three times per week is the best way to get your vitamin D3.
Better ideas to protect from excessive exposure: "Seek shade, Slip on a covering, Slap on a hat."
Fred C. Howard
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

Josh O'Connor, Publisher:

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at or 425-339-3472.