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84% of sunscreen products are harmful to health, says alarming EWG study

Monday, July 09, 2007
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: sunscreen, medical myths, health news

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For 29 years, the FDA has refused to publish safety standards for sunscreen products. That's nearly three decades of keeping the public in the dark about the extremely harmful, cancer-causing chemicals found in sunscreen products. Any idea why the Food and Drug Administration has taken so long to set safety standards for a product used by over 100 million Americans? If you guessed, "Because the greedy corporations selling the toxic sunscreen products don't want the FDA to study the safety of their products," give yourself golden star sticker. You got it! The FDA has no interest in protecting the public from cancer-causing personal care products, and that simple fact is made abundantly clear by the FDA's 29-year delay to establish basic safety guidelines.

As is increasingly the case, non-profit groups are now doing the job the FDA should be doing but refuses to do. In this case, the Environmental Working Group (www.EWG.org), one of my top recommended non-profit organizations, has compiled a list of 700 name-brand sunscreens along with the toxic chemicals they contain. You'll find the list at http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

As the EWG reports, many sunscreen products contain cancer-causing chemicals that get absorbed right through the skin:

Some sunscreens absorb into the blood and raise safety concerns. Our review of the technical literature shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some are linked to toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and could disrupt hormone systems, several are strongly linked to allergic reactions, and still others may build up in the body or the environment. FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients.

After 29 years of debate, the government has failed to set mandatory sunscreen safety standards. Companies are free to make their own decisions on everything from advertising claims to product quality. In lieu of setting final standards, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises people to stay out of the sun from 10 am to 4 pm. FDA now stands in direct violation a Congressional mandate requiring the agency to finalize sunscreen safety standards by May 2006, flouting not only Congress but also consumers, who are reliant on sunscreen to protect their health.

84% of sunscreen products harm consumers

As the EWG's research reveals, an incredible 84% of sunscreen products are harmful to consumers. You read that right: More than four out of five sunscreen products actually harm the people who use them.

That's no surprise to NewsTarget readers, of course. We've been sounding the alarm on the toxicity of sunscreen products for years. We've also hammered at the sick conspiracy between the cancer industry and the sunscreen industry to keep people diseased so that both industries make more money. Read my article The Sunscreen Myth to learn more.

As NewsTarget readers have known for a long time, sunscreen products are a hoax, and they actually cause cancer instead of preventing it. The more consumers use sunscreen products, the greater their chance of someday being diagnosed with cancer. Part of this is due to sunscreen's effect of blocking ultraviolet radiation (UV light), which generates the powerful anti-cancer nutrient Vitamin D in human skin. Vitamin D is quite simply the world's best anti-cancer medicine, and recent studies have shown that it can prevent nearly four out of five cancers in women (ALL cancers, including breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, brain tumors, multiple myeloma and even skin cancer). Click here to read NewsTarget articles on Vitamin D.

The Environmental Working Group, sadly, still does not recognize the healing power of Vitamin D and continues to recommend that people avoid sunlight. This is merely an oversight by the group, not any sort of malicious disinformation conspiracy. The EWG means well, but they remain ignorant of the nutritional impact of vitamin D. They're experts on toxicology, not nutrition, and they still suffer under the illusion that the less sunlight consumers receive on their skin, the healthier they will be (hence the EWG's insistence that sunscreen products with ineffective UV blocking are also "unsafe"). The EWG also seems to be completely unaware that the best sunscreen is internal sunscreen built from antioxidants. Eat lots of berries, spirulina, chlorella and superfoods, and you'll build up a natural, internal sunscreen that blocks excess UV rays naturally.

Despite these gaps in EWG's knowledge on nutrition, I completely agree with the EWG's stance on exposure to toxic chemicals, and that's the strength of their outstanding work. As they conclude about sunscreen products:

...we also sorely need policies that would require companies to document the safety of chemicals before they go on the market. And, most importantly, we need policies that would require that chemicals be safe for the fetus, infant, and other vulnerable populations -- a simple, commonsense idea completely absent from current federal law. Such advances would dramatically improve our understanding of health impacts from chemical exposures, and would go a long way toward sealing the gaps that leave consumers at risk from a lifetime of exposure to chemicals.

Below, we reprint the full EWG press release announcing this new sunscreen database:

First-ever online database rates sunscreen safety and effectiveness

Today, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the first-ever, in-depth analysis of the safety and effectiveness of more than 700 name-brand sunscreens. The new database lists products that offer the best combination of safety and effectiveness: they are formulated with the safest chemicals, are most effective at protecting against sunburn, and help prevent long-term damage caused by the sun's UVA rays, which are linked to skin aging, wrinkling and, potentially, cancer.

The analysis found that 84 percent of 785 sunscreen products with an SPF rating of 15 or higher offer inadequate protection from the sun's harmful rays, or contain ingredients with safety concerns. Ironically, some popular sunscreen chemicals break down when exposed to sunlight and must be formulated with stabilizing chemicals. Others penetrate the skin and present significant health concerns.

This ground-breaking research is based on nearly 400 peer-reviewed studies of the 17 sunscreen chemicals approved for use in the U.S., an analysis of sunscreen ingredient toxicity linked to 60 industry and government databases on chemical hazards, coupled with customized, product-by-product assessments of protection from both UVA and UVB radiation.

"Always use sunscreen", said Jane Houlihan, Vice President for Research at EWG, "but not all sunscreens are created equal." "Our research shows that some products are far more effective than others, while presenting fewer safety concerns. Before we launched this website, the consumer had no way to identify the safest and most effective sunscreens."

"The SPF rating on the product is helpful, but it is only part of what a consumer needs to know," said Houlihan. "Our rating system includes critical information on UVA protection, how stable the product is in the sun, and potential health hazards of the product's ingredients."

"EWG has conducted this research because the FDA has failed to do so. With over one million cases of skin cancer reported each year people should have the most reliable information available about which sunscreens will provide the best protection for themselves and their families," Houlihan added.

The report and website rank products for combined safety and effectiveness, help consumers recognize bogus claims on sunscreen products, and provide tips for safety in the sun.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not finalized comprehensive sunscreen standards that have been in development for 29 years. When complete, these rules will standardize a rating system for UVA protection, and prohibit misleading and inaccurate claims such as "waterproof" and "lasts all day" that are commonly found on sunscreen products.

In response to FDA's failure to set enforceable standards for sunscreen, citizens have filed nine class-action, false-advertising lawsuits in California; the Connecticut state Attorney General has petitioned the Agency to set standards; and six Senators have written FDA, urging the Agency to issue sunscreen regulations to protect the public from skin cancer.

The database can be found at: http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/


EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. The group's research on safety of personal care products is online at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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