Skip to content
|Study States that All Sunscreens are NOT Created Equal|
There are more than 1 million skin cancers diagnosed in the United
States every year. With greater education about the seriousness of sun exposure and the potential for skin cancer purchasing of sun protection products is sky rocketing (no pun intended). However, a recent report from a consumer advocacy group claims that four out of five brand-name sunscreens either provide inadequate sun protection or contain chemicals that may be unsafe.
In a report released Tuesday, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) calls on the FDA to implement promised changes in sunscreen labeling that would require manufacturers to provide more detailed information about the level of sun protection their products provide. The group is requesting that manufacturers be required to test and label their products for protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation, which does not cause sunburns but can damage collagen and cause wrinkles and sunspots. Research suggests that UVA is a cause of skin cancer. This labeling upgrade was proposed by the FDA last August, but the changes have not been finalized.
Current Sun Protection Considered Inadequate
The current sun protection factor (SPF) labeling system, which was implemented three decades ago, measures only protection from UVB rays -- the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburns.
"You can buy a high SPF product and still have no assurance that you are being protected from UVA, as well as UVB rays according to the study.
The EWG analysis suggested that nearly half of the products contained ingredients known to become inactive in strong sunlight.
"It may seem counterintuitive, but of the 17 'active ingredients' that FDA has approved for use as sunscreens in the U.S., at least four of them break down significantly when they are exposed to sunlight," the EWG report notes. "They lose their ability to absorb the sun's harmful rays and stop working effectively in as little as 30 minutes, ranging up to several hours."
Products containing the sun-stable and UVA filtering ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide were more likely to score highly in the group's analysis.
EWG Sunscreen Study, Top Selling Sunscreens Fair Worst
In their newly published EWG Study, researchers analyzed more than
900 brand-named sunscreens, EWG researchers concluded that 7% of the
products with SPF ratings of 30 or higher did not protect against UVA
Only 15% of the sunscreens met the group's criteria for safety and
effectiveness by providing broad-spectrum sun protection (denoting
protection against both UVA and UVB radiation), remaining stable in
sunlight, and containing only active ingredients considered safe by the
The top-selling sunscreen brands tended to be the poorest performers,
with none of market leader Coppertone's sunscreen products consider to
be both safe and effective by the EWG.
The report also criticized what EWG analysts called "over-the-top" marketing claims that they contend would not be allowed under the proposed FDA guidelines.
Sunscreen Industry Responds
Two spokesmen for the sunscreen industry called the EWG claims unfounded and erroneous.
|< Prev||Next >|
Contact Our News Editors
| Back to Front Page
|| List of all Health and Medical Sections
|Diseases and Conditions|
|Health and Medical|
|Mind, Body, Spirit|
|Natural Medicine/Natural Healing|
|General Nutrition Articles|
|Latest Health and Medicine Studies|
|Vitamins and Supplements|
A to Z Health: