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The Challenge: Make Sunblock

The proof it workedDid the sunblock work?

On the island, we made a sunblock from kaolin (a fine soft white clay) and coconut oil and also a sunscreen from lime juice. Both proved successful, although we donít recommend testing these products in the midday sun!

Web Links

The producers are not responsible for the content of external websites.

A Summer Blockbuster: Making Sense of the Little Screen on the ABC News site
Sunscreen on the Science Q&A section of The New York Times site
A Sizzling Summer Without the Burn on the Chem Ecology Education Center site


Make Your Own Cosmetics: Neal's Yard Remedies, Aurum Press 1997; ISBN: 1854104691

General information about tropical plants and their uses:

Tropical Forests and Their Crops by Nigel J.H. Smith, J.T. Williams, Donald L. Plucknett and Jennifer P. Talbot, pub Cornell University Press 1992; ISBN: 0801427711(Discusses general groupings of useful plants)

Botany for Gardeners: An Introduction and Guide by Brian Capon, B.T. Batsford 1992; ISBN: 0713472529 (A good general text on how plants function)

A Field Guide to the Families and Genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America: (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru): With Supplementary Notes) by Alwyn H. Gentry and Adrian B. Forsyth, University of Chicago Press1996; ISBN: 0226289443 (An excellent resource on learning to identify tropical plants in the field/forest)

Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics by Albert Y. Leung and Steven Foster. 1995 John Wiley & Sons Inc; ISBN: 0471508268

Fruits and Vegetables of the Caribbean by M.J.Bourne, G.W. Lennox, and S.A. Seddon, Caribbean Publishing 1988, ISBN: 0333453115

Trees of the Caribbean by S.A. Seddon, Caribbean Publishing 1980 ; ISBN: 0333287932

Nature of the Islands: Plants and Animals of the Eastern Caribbean by Virginia Barlow, Cruising Guide Publications 1993; ISBN: 0944428134 This book has all the plants we used, plus information about the ecology of the area.

A couple of children's books:

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynn Cherry, pub 2000 Voyager Books; ISBN: 0152026142

El Gran Capoquero: UN Cuento De LA Selva Amazonica by Lynn Cherry, translated by Alma Ada, 1994 Harcourt; ISBN: 0152323201