The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

EWG's '09 Sunscreen Consumer Guide

For The First Time People Can Choose Most Protective Lip Balms and Moisturizers


In an affirmation of Environmental Working Group's (EWG) three-year
campaign for more effective sunscreens, 70 percent of sunscreens
offered for the 2009 beach season contain strong UVA filters, compared
to just 29 percent last year. Top brands reformulated to better protect
against UVA radiation include Solbar, Zia Natural Skincare, Nivea,
L'Oreal, and Hawaiian Tropic. This is a move in the right direction,
but each of these still rates relatively low compared to the top-ranked

Another plus in 2009: 19 percent fewer sunscreens contains oxybenzone, an active ingredient that disrupts the hormone system.

But a new EWG investigation of 1,572 sunscreens and other sun-blocking
products currently on the market found that 3 of 5 sunscreens either
don't protect skin from sun damage or contain hazardous chemicals - or

While companies are adding ingredients that better shield against UVA
radiation, linked to premature aging and cancer, in addition to UVB
radiation, which causes obvious - and painful - sunburn, many brands
contain UVA filters at levels to low to provide strong protection.

Since the federal Food and Drug Administration still hasn't delivered
on its 1978 promise to issue meaningful sunscreen standards, EWG
conducts its own yearly comprehensive analysis of leading products that
claim to protect consumers from the sun.

EWG's 2009 Sunscreen Guide, found at,
ranks sunscreens, moisturizers with SPF claims and lip balms from best
to worse. NOTE: A shareable search widget is available to let site
visitors finds the safest, most effective sunscreen products.

"The FDA may not care about the safety and effectiveness of sunscreen
products, but the public does," said EWG's Vice President of Research,
Jane Houlihan. "EWG's guide is really the only place concerned
consumers can go to identify which sunscreens, lip balms and
moisturizers are the safest, most protective for themselves and their

More than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S.
every year. The incidence of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous
form of the disease, is escalating. Effective sunscreens are crucial to
public health.

EWG President Ken Cook is sending FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg a
UV-protective parasol from Soleil Chic - a company founded by Lynn Rose
after losing her husband to skin cancer. The parasol accompanies Cook's
letter urging Hamburg to set sunscreen safety guidelines once and for

The Environmental Working Group is a community 30 million strong, working to protect our environmental health by changing industry standards.

(202) 667-6982