Kate Tietje (“Modern Alternative Mama”) is a scientifically illiterate mommy blogger who routinely hands out some of the most dangerous advice on the internet. I’ve previously covered her shameful “vaccine injury awareness month” (meant to counter Breast Cancer Awareness Month–yeah, figure that one out) and the endangerment of her children through neglect. Today I’d like to go back to basics and concentrate on points that even her 57,000+ pseudoscience-loving followers will be able to grasp: hypocrisy and lies.
There will be no squirming out of this one, Kate.
In a recent article, “Have You Gotten Your Sunscreen Yet This Summer?”,1,2 Tietje has this to say about sunscreen ingredients:
“I’m not really comfortable with the physical blockers, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. I know they are common in “natural” sunscreens and probably fine, but I just do not want to rub that on my children’s skin. I don’t know, I worry. Maybe that’s crazy.” (emphasis mine)
Whoa! Crazy, indeed! Sherman, set the wayback machine7 to a month earlier and let’s peek at another Modern Alternative Mama (MAM) post:3
“It’s been awhile since I’ve done a giveaway here. But, I know that you will truly love this company [BanjOrganics] and I wanted to share it with you.”
Yes, it’s MAMs huge “BanjOrganics Giveaway” contest! The lucky winner takes home a gift basket chock full of natural products, including a jar of sunscreen. Let’s have a look at the ingredients in that sunscreen, shall we?4
Oh dear. See the highlighted ingredient? Zinc oxide? What was it that Kate said about zinc oxide? Oh yes… she’s not comfortable with it and just doesn’t want to rub it on her children’s skin.
I suppose one way to avoid exposing your children to “toxic” ingredients is to pawn them off on unsuspecting readers.
So, what does Tietje use on her children? Well, sadly, she freely confesses she’d rather let them run around in the sun unprotected and burn. But when she does apply a sunscreen to her endangered kiddos, she makes her own.
Unfortunately, by her own admission (she doesn’t know it yet–hint hint), she’s using an ingredient that she claims will give the kids skin cancer.
Let’s walk through this. First, here’s her homemade sunscreen recipe. Take note of the highlighted ingredient. It will be important later.
Next, we have to remind ourselves of a sunscreen additive that Modern Alternative Mama told us that we must avoid. She lays this out clearly in her article “What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen”:5
Hmmm… avoid vitamin A in sunscreens because, according to intrepid scientist Kate Tietje, it can speed development of tumors when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight. Really?
I think you can see where this is heading. Remember those raspberries in Mama’s homemade sunscreen?
According to the USDA, raspberries are a rich source of vitamin A:6
So… vitamin A in sunscreen leads to the possibility of tumors, and Modern Alternative Mama is pushing a sunscreen recipe rich in vitamin A. Or were we supposed to go back to the zinc oxide solution she’s giving away to readers, but is afraid to use on her own children?
Needless to say, none of the products or ingredients mentioned in this article are actually dangerous. I’d be happy to debate the issues with Tietje, but like everyone else who questioned her bad science, I was banned from her Facebook page.
Modern Alternative Mama, Facebook, and BanjOrganics screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.
(1) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook Intro)
(2) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook-Linked Blog Post)
(3) Modern Alternative Mama BanjOrganics Giveaway
(4) BanjOrganics Sunscreen Ingredients
(5) What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen
(6) USDA Raspberry Nutrient Profile
(7) The WayBack Machine