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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sunscreens May Be Hazardous to Your Health


A consumer advocacy group has a warning for parents who think they're protecting their family with sunscreen: You may be getting burned.

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based nonprofit, has released an investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens that says four out of five don't adequately protect consumers and may contain harmful chemicals.

The group says that some of the products of the nation's leading brands -- including Coppertone, Neutrogena and Banana Boat -- are the poorest performers.

The active ingredients of sunscreens are compounds that absorb, reflect or block ultraviolet light. Sunscreens are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration not as cosmetics but as over-the-counter drugs. They’re rated based on their Sun Protection Factor (SPF); the higher the SPF, the better the protection against sunburn.

The Environmental Working Group says that the SPF rating on a sun product is only part of what consumers need to know, and that the biggest problems with sunscreens are that they don't offer appropriate protection and that many contain unsafe ingredients.

Sources: CNN, Organic Consumer, Mercola.com

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