The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has issued its 5th annual guide to sunscreen products and only found 20% of products to be ‘safe.’ Over 10% of products were found to be highly dangerous.
Though some industry leaders question the EWGs techniques, because they use ‘new’ science, the industry likes the older science because it is less likely to find issues with the safety of their products.
The EWG named 11 products to its Hall of Shame, and FIVE were for babies!
Products specifically for babies followed by rating and compounds that got them listed
- Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 – (7) oxybenzone, vitamin A
- Baby Blanket SunBlankie Towelette SPF 45+ – (5) oxybenzone
- Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70+ – (7) oxybenzone, vitamin A
- Rite Aid Kids Sunscreen Spray Lotion SPF 45 – (7) contains oxybenzone
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55 – (7) oxybenzone, misleading SPF
Oxybenzone is associated with a high level of concern because it has enhanced skin absorption, and has been shown to lead to biochemical or cellular level changes. There is moderate concern that it will act as an endocrine disruptor.
| Best sunscreens, according to EWG
- Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance-Free, SPF 30
- Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick SPF 50
- Climb On! Mineral Sunblock SPF 30
- Karen's Botanicals Simple Sunblock Lotion, Unscented, SPF 30
- Loving Naturals Sunscreen, SPF 30 plus
- Sun Putty Face SPF 30
- Vanicream Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin, SPF 30
The FDA did introduce new sunscreen rules last week that will take effect next year. Sunscreen labels will now carry a "broad spectrum" label to show how much protection they offer against both UVA and UVB radiation.
Unfortunately, the standard for UVA protection will not allow U.S. consumers to differentiate between superior and mediocre products. The new rules also say that products cannot claim an SPF factor higher than 50, or that they are water proof. These are good rules that can help people who wear sun screen to manage their products better; HOWEVER, the FDA did not address the issue of toxicity – not even for the babies.
To be fair, the FDA did at first, its earlier draft proposed stronger health protections. That was before our great industry leaders lobbied the proposal into shape.
Remember sunscreen is not essential; you can stay out of the sun, wear wide brimmed hats and cotton shirts over swimsuits, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables so you are full up with antioxidants.
~ Dr. Elizabeth Redmond