We Are Sunshine

Chemical Sunscreen Smokescreen Revealed

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

2010-05-27 Sunscreen smokescreen copyWidespread media reports this week that most chemical sunscreens have not undergone legitimate product safety testing and that ingredients in the products may actually contribute to skin cancer risk have the chemical sunscreen and cosmetic dermatology industries reeling to produce explanations.

The Environmental Working Group — a Washington, D.C.-based consumer safety advocate organization — published a report this week slamming most chemical sunscreen products. Only 39 products — or 8 percent of sunscreen products on the market — met EWG’s safety standards.

“The reason? A surge in exaggerated SPF claims (SPFs greater than 50) and recent developments in understanding the possible hazards of some sunscreen ingredients, in particular, new government data linking a form of vitamin A used in sunscreens to accelerated growth of skin tumors and lesions,” EWG reported.

America On-Line’s health reporter looked into EWG’s claim, noting that FDA had seen the concern in the Vitamin A derivative used in sunscreens for more than a decade. While an FDA official denied that, AOL cited the actual FDA study — embarrassing the agency.

To read the AOL report click here.

The EWG report had the normal dermatology lobbyists scrambling for explanations. American Academy of Dermatology spokesperson James Spencer told WebMD, “EWG is kind of the Chicken Little of the sunscreen arena. There is no evidence that the active ingredients in sunscreens are dangerous. These are products used by millions of people every day.”

But EWG’s major beef with chemical sunscreen is that there has not been rigorous product safety testing done on sunscreen products which we now know contain toxins and potential carcinogens that appear to get into the bloodstream — making Spencer’s comment an obvious example of how deeply in bed cosmetic dermatology is with the chemical sunscreen industry.

Spencer added in the WebMD story, “There is real danger all around us, and one very real danger is skin cancer and skin aging from sun exposure.”

Sunscreen manufacturers are not permitted to claim that their products prevent skin cancer — only that their products prevent sunburn. They pay cosmetic dermatology groups millions of dollars annually to make that inference for them.

To read the EWG report click here.

To read the Chicago Tribune story “Sunscreen or Smoke screen” click here.