The Cancer Council has declined to recall a sunscreen product marketed to children despite a wave of reports of severe allergic reactions, including a baby hospitalised for three days.
The organisation’s Facebook page was flooded with angry comments this week following the news that a three-month-old Queensland baby suffered chemical burns after his mother applied the kids SPF50+ formula for “delicate skin” earlier this week.
Jessie Swan claimed her baby Thomas had not been exposed to any sun, and that the cream had been applied as a precaution.
“This is my 3 month old son. He has not been in the sun, he was simply outdoors so I put screen on him just in case,” Ms Swan complained on the Facebook page.
“We’ve been in hospital for three days, two nights so far trying to treat this horrible rash/burn caused by your 50+ Peppa Pig sunscreen.”
Despite dozens of further complaints about a number of Cancer Council products, CEO Sanchia Aranda told The New Daily the non-government charity organisation was not planning to recall the product.
“These really are individual reactions and they could be from any ingredient in the sunscreen,” Professor Aranda said, referring to the furore as “an interesting social media reaction”.
Rashes, burns, bleeding and welts
Angry consumers claimed they and family members had suffered rashes, burns, bleeding and welts after using various sunscreen products from the Cancer Council’s sunscreen range.
Facebook commenter Louise O’Brien said she experienced a similar nasty reaction after her family used a Cancer Council product with Finding Nemo character Dory on the label.
“We all suffered sunburn despite applying liberally and consistently as directed; as well skin irritations such as rashes over the body and angry, red facial blotches,” Ms O’Brien wrote on the Cancer Council’s Facebook page.
Another commenter claimed the brand’s Sport Foam Spray Sunscreen had not protected her skin from sunburn and had caused her face to swell up.
Despite the Cancer Council releasing a statement claiming it had never received a complaint about the Peppa Pig sunscreen, one user said she raised the alarm years ago.
Catherine Macarthur Jones claimed to have phoned and written to the Cancer Council two years ago after her three-year-old grandson reacted badly to the Peppa Pig product.
“How many more children must suffer before you do something about it?” Ms Macarthur Jones demanded.
Cancer Council reaction
Professor Aranda maintained the Peppa Pig sunscreen at the centre of the furore was better suited to sensitive skin than most products on the market.
She said an investigation into two of the more serious incidents had revealed nothing wrong with the specific bottles, leading the organisation to believe it was simply a rare allergic reaction.
The Cancer Council was also testing a random selection of products taken from retail shelves.
Professor Aranda also claimed the majority of complainants were often found to be using the sunscreen incorrectly.
“What we commonly find is that people don’t use sunscreen often enough. We recommend every two hours.”
She also said Australians were often too stingy in their application.
“You need a teaspoon per limb.”
Professor Aranda said the organisation was monitoring the progress of baby Thomas, who has been released from hospital.