A nonprofit United States-based group claims that most sunscreens either don’t work or are hazardous to health, but the sunscreen industry rejects the charge.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) said its investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens showed that four out of five of them either don’t adequately protect against damaging UV radiation or contain potentially hazardous chemicals.
Leading brands like Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Neutrogena were among the worst offenders, claimed the EWG in its report, "Sunscreen Summary—What Works and What’s Safe," published last week.
The sunscreen market is growing, with more Americans than ever using products to protect themselves from sun damage and skin cancer. Consumers tend to choose products with a high SPF, that are waterproof, and claim to offer "broad spectrum" protection, the authors wrote. However, few of the claims on the bottle were met.
The EWG researchers investigated 952 name-brand sunscreens, and found only 143 products that offered very good sun protection using ingredients that posed minimum health risks. It based its assessment on "a detailed review of hundreds of scientific studies, industry models of sunscreen efficacy, and toxicity and regulatory information housed in nearly 60 government, academic, and industry databases."