Sunscreens: Consumers in the dark

July 1, 2008 2:39:33 PM PDT
A new report suggests that many -- if not most -- sunscreens do not do an adequate job of protecting users from the sun's harmful rays.

But medical experts are quick to caution that consumers would not be wise to eliminate the use of sunscreen from their summertime ritual, because that could expose them to an increased risk of skin cancer.

In its new report, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group says that 85 percent of sunscreens either inadequately protect from the sun's rays or contain ingredients that may be unsafe.

They say that the problem is worsened by the fact that the Food and Drug Administration has not passed standards for testing and labeling sunscreens -- meaning that makers often have carte blanche when it comes to making claims about their products.

"There are all these things on the label that don't indicate quality, protection and safety," says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at EWG and manager of the project.

However, the group does recommend 142 sunscreen products for use by customers. While a similar report last year listed several recommended brands that were expensive and only available online, this year's report includes a list of the top 10 recommended brands that are widely available, including picks from CVS and Walgreens.


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