Sunscreen chemical may cause cancer

A metal compound commonly found in consumer products and sunscreens lotions could potentially cause cancer.

Zinc oxide is used to absorb harmful ultra violet light. But when it is turned into nano-sized particles, they are able to enter human cells and may damage the user`s DNA.

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This activates a protein called p53, whose duty is to prevent damaged cells from multiplying and becoming cancerous, says a new study led by Joachim Loo, Ng Kee Woei and David Leong, assistant professors at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) here.

However, cells that lack p53 or do not produce enough functional p53 may instead develop into cancerous cells when they come into contact with zinc oxide nanoparticles, the journal Biomaterials reports.

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