Humidity, sunscreen and air pollution

Day 10–July 13 (Breezewood, PA-Everett, PA, 8.2 miles)

Route 30 as it heads east from Breezewood is no place to be walking. Large trucks whiz by; the shoulder of the road is miniscule; and in the heat of the sun it is miserable. Slathered in sunscreen and breathing in car exhaust I couldn’t help but think of the long-term damage this was surely doing to my body.

Environmental Working Group tested 1,723 sunscreens for a special report earlier this year and found that three out of five offer inadequate protection from the sun or actually contain toxic ingredients. As someone with fair skin I do not want to be put in the position of having to decide between putting harmful chemicals on my body or putting myself at risk of skin cancer–or possibly both.

And the air I am breathing is not much better. In a new study by environmental health researchers from UCLA, USC and the California Air Resources Board, it was found that air pollutants traveled farther and lingered longer than previously believed. This is not good for myself and others who find themselves breathing the air alongside highways.

– By Jennifer E. Cooper