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John Bailey, chief scientist of the Personal Care Products Council, has released a statement in response to the 2010 Environmental Working Group (EWG) Sunscreen Report.
Bailey finds the report unscientific and unsubstantiated, noting that the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation, the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), physicians and other health care professionals have all emphasized the safety of sunscreen use. Bailey is concerned that the group's report will needlessly cause consumers to avoid using sunscreens, when that use is critical to prevent skin damage and skin cancer.
“Sunscreens in the United States are regulated as OTC drugs by the FDA and must undergo pre-market approval that involves rigorous scientific assessment including safety and efficacy substantiation according to FDA standards," noted Bailey. He furthered, “The FDA testing and regulatory process for sunscreen products is the most rigorous in the world."
According to Bailey, EWG did not use the established scientific and regulatory safety assessment process for sunscreen products and ingredients. The following topics are those proposed and questioned in the report.
Vitamin A: In its report, EWG questioned the safety of vitamin A in sunscreens, referencing the National Toxicology Program's (NTP) announcement in 2000 that it would study the potential of retinyl palmitate to enhance UV radiation-induced photocarcinogenisity. Bailey noted that the study is ongoing (scheduled for late 2010 or early 2011) but is not designed to study retinyl palmitate in the presence or absence of sunscreen formulations. He notes that retinyl palmitate has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) expert panel and found to be safe in cosmetics.