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Only 8% of Sunscreens Considered Safe

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

The fourth annual Sunscreen Guide by Environmental Working Group (EWG) is full of bad, bad news for sun lovers. Low marks were given to almost all sunscreen products, with a few notable exceptions. EWG researchers recommend only 39, or 8%, of 500 beach and sport sunscreens on the market this season.



Read the full sunscreen report.


EWG notes...



The federal Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) failure to issue regulations for sunscreens lead EWG to warn consumers not to depend on any sunscreen for primary protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Hats, clothing and shade are still the most reliable sun protection available.


Products with high SPF ratings sell a false sense of security because most people using them stay out in the sun longer, still get burned (which increases risk of skin cancer) and subject their skin to large amounts of UVA radiation, the type of sunlight that does not burn but is believed responsible for considerable skin damage and cancer. High SPF products, which protect against sunburn, often provide very little protection against UVA radiation. Also, most people don't get the high SPF they pay for: people apply about a quarter of the recommended amount. In everyday practice, a product labeled SPF 100 really performs like SPF 3.2, an SPF 30 rating equates to a 2.3 and an SPF 15 translates to 2.




For the new report, EWG researchers assessed 1,400 sunscreen products, including beach and sports lotions, sprays and creams, moisturizers, make-up and lip balms. The 39 top beach and sports products that earned EWG's "green" rating all contain the minerals zinc or titanium. EWG researchers were unable find any non-mineral sunscreens that scored better than "yellow."


Before you head out into the sun this summer (well, or all year round technically) I'd read the new sunscreen report.

post #2 of 13

Not everyone agrees with the findings (obviously!).  Here's another take.  I'm sure there're a million :)

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for posting that Captaint - I hadn't seen it. It's an interesting take. I knew there would be people not in agreement.


I do think it's funny when the author says that we should consider that, "The bottom line is they [EWG] don't like man-made chemicals and would never recommend a product containing a chemical with "unknown" health effects." - Which really, I wouldn't either.Why recommend a product containing chemicals with unknown health effects? Sounds pretty logical to me. Especially considering the flaky chemical studies and safety certifications going on here in the USA. 


The best thing about the EWG report in my opinion is how they point out that sun safety in general is your best defense - i.e. covering up, staying out of midday sun, etc. Plenty of studies not by the EWG show that sunscreen is an iffy deal at best.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

PS what's also interesting is that that piece contains opinions from the spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology, an organization who only lists a few recognized products for sun safety, among them Johnson & Johnson AVEENO sunblock when we all know Johnson & Johnson has recently been called out by the FDA among others for hiding major safety information. BUT we should trust their sunblock for safety?


Just something to consider.

post #5 of 13

I'm pretty much with you, Jennifer :)  Just thought I'd toss something out to get more thoughts!

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Captaint - I know :) It's good to get more thoughts anyway - without second thoughts I'd still trust QAI.


In any case, just came back to mention that there's going to be a live chat about this sunscreen topic with EWG on Wednesday, June 2nd from 2-3 PM eastern.


During the chat anyone can join EWG to get some answers and learn a little more about sunscreen at Enviroblog with EWG sunscreen experts Jane Houlihan (Senior VP for Research) and Sonya Lunder (Senior Analyst).


Here's a link to the official chat info.

post #7 of 13

There is so SO many sunscreens out there. They slap on SPF of 100 for our babies! Then these parents take their word for it and let their kids bake! Its very frustrating!


I recently purchased a book called Gorgeously Green: 8 simple steps to earth-friendly life by Sophie Uliano

I also go to her websites that have Do it yourself guides like making sunscreen, face scrubs and lotions.

Here is something on topic, sunscreens.

post #8 of 13

What is the website that lists the toxity levels of all personal care froducts available to us, organic and not. Its not on the EWG. I have lost the link in my favorites and Im lost without it! Please help!

post #9 of 13

Breezer2009, I think you may be looking for Skin Deep.

post #10 of 13

If you're like me, you just want the list of approved ones you should buy. Here it is:

post #11 of 13

Thanks for the list! My family is in town this weekend and we were just discussing sunscreens! I wish I would have seen this a week ago!!

post #12 of 13

Here is a quick explanation of why most sunscreens are bad and what to look for when shopping for an eco-friendly, kid-safe sunscreen.  Also gives some suggestions of great sunblocks...

post #13 of 13

What is a good sunscreen that is 100+SPF and easy to find since a few years have passed since this post?  I have very pale skin and burn extremely easily, even with 100+SPF lately..

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