A majority of sunscreens available in the United States are not meeting standards for skin protection or environmental safety, a new report finds.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington D.C. based non-profit that focuses on environmental issues, released its annual 'Guide to Sunscreens' last week, and found that around 75 percent of available products in the U.S. did not meet standards.
The most alarming issue noted by researchers is that many of the sunscreens do not provide proper protection against skin aging or even melanoma - a type of skin cancer.
Some also contaminate local waters with dangerous chemicals when they was off, contaminating the drinking supply and hurting key ecosystems like coral.
The SPF, or sun protection factor, value on each product is gauging the products ability to prevent burns over all else.
'What the sunscreen is actually measured to protect you from is sun burns, but what you're not seeing is that correlation from other sun concerns, such as skin aging, skin cancer and a variety of other health harms,' Burns explained. 'While you may be protected from burning and getting, its not guaranteeing that the product is protecting you from other sun issues.'
Burns says that the reason for these failures of the products is because of the way sunscreens in America were developed - valuing protection against burns over all else.'It's based on [the] legacy and how sunscreens came about in the US,' she explained. 'They came on the marketplace to provide that sunburn protection.' While many manufacturers have further tailored their products to protect against skin aging and cancer, there are no particular requirements to do so at a federal level.
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