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Personal Care Products Council Responds to False Sunscreen Allegations

Posted: May 20, 2013
Sun protection

"In a matter of days, Americans will begin the official start of the summer season by celebrating Memorial Day at beaches, pools and parks. Before they walk outside, we want them to apply sunscreen to protect themselves and their families from the damaging effects of sun exposure. Sunscreen products, when used as directed and as part of an overall safe sun regimen, are safe and help reduce the risk of skin cancer, premature skin aging and other damaging effects of the sun.

"Despite the extensive and growing body of credible science demonstrating the safety, efficacy, and health benefits of sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) continues to promote false and misleading assertions about sunscreen products and their ingredients. Once again, the EWG report lacks the rigor and reliability of formal, expert scientific evaluation and is not peer-reviewed. Our concern is that confusing, unsubstantiated claims could actually serve to discourage consumers from using sunscreen on themselves and their children.

"The Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the Skin Cancer Foundation and health care professionals around the world all emphasize the safety of sunscreens and the importance of their use as part of a safe sun regimen. The dangers of sun exposure are clear and universally recognized by public health professionals and dermatologists. The National Institutes of Health 'Report on Carcinogens' identifies solar UV radiation as a 'known human carcinogen.' A single bad burn as a child is known to increase the skin's susceptibility to damage and skin cancer throughout life.

"Unfortunately, the American public still has a long way to go before we treat sunscreens the way we treat seat belts. We want to get to a place where people are sun smart every time they step out of their door, automatically applying sunscreen – rain or shine, summer or winter – as well as wearing protective clothing and seeking shade when possible.

"Among the many allegations made in the EWG report that contradict scientific consensus is the claim that retinyl palmitate, or vitamin A, is unsafe for use in sunscreen.