Unfortunately, the quality and safety of sunscreens hasn't changed much since the Environmental Working Group (EWG) began monitoring them three years ago. In fact, researchers believe any improvements cited in the latest EWG 2009 Sunscreen Guide -- an investigation of more than 1,500 sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater -- have been minimal at best, and are not enough to protect consumers from ultraviolet radiation.
To the good, 70 percent of the sunscreen products evaluated by EWG were reformulated to feature stronger UVA filtering, while 19 percent eliminated the use of oxybenzone, an organic compound linked to hormonal disruption problems.
Unfortunately, the bad news far outweighs the few remnants of the good once again:
* Overall, some 60 percent of the sunscreens evaluated either contain hazardous chemicals, don't protect the skin from sun damage, or both.
* Some sprays and powders include nanoscale materials that may cause health problems, like being absorbed into one's lungs.
* Just 5 percent of the products assessed met the organization's standards for effectiveness and safety.
The underlying problem: The FDA has failed to deliver on its promise more than 30 years ago to regulate sunscreens.
Environmental Working Group July 2, 2009 Free Sunscreen Guide
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