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Only 39 of 500 sunscreens recommended by EWG

The Environmental Working Group sent us their latest research on sunscreens, and it's not pretty. They only recommend 39 out of 500 sunscreens on the market, primarily due to two reasons:

1) Many sunscreens with high SPF claims don't actually offer that much protection, giving consumers a false sense of security and potentially increasing the amount of time they spend in the sun. Sun burns and exposure to UVA radiation increase the risk of skin cancer.

2) Vitamin A is a common sunscreen ingredient and has recently been linked (via government data) to accelerated development of skin tumors and lesions.

I looked up my preferred sunscreen, Mexitan, and it contains Vitamin A and is considered 'moderately hazardous.' Oh, goody! It's hard to keep up with warnings about ingredients in personal care products. You research and try to make the best decisions, and then WHAMMO. Who would ever think that Vitamin A could potentially be bad for you? Apparently in the form of Retinyl Palmitate, it is. According to EWG:

Some of the blame falls on the FDA, which has yet to finalize regulations for sunscreens promised since 1978. FDA officials estimate that the regulations may be issued next October – but even then, they expect to give manufacturers at least a year, and possibly longer, to comply with the new rules. That means the first federally regulated sunscreens won’t go on store shelves before the summer of 2012.

Promised since 1978? Blargh. I don't have the energy today to rant about what a joke this organization is, how they are run by people who are so influenced by big corporations and deep-pocketed lobbyists, how Washington is never going to take a stand against any of these unregulated chemicals in our lives because they are controlled by the very entities who profit from them (whoa, apparently I'm getting a second wind) how it's virtually impossible for the average consumer to make thoughtful, careful purchases because the information is scant and convoluted. I appreciate the EWG and other non-profits who are trying to educate us, but I have to believe they are only reaching a small sub-section of Americans. It's just not enough. 

So take a look at their recommendations and post your preferred sunscreen in the comments. I'm thinking we might give TruKid a try this summer.

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