Friday, May 27, 2011

EWG's Sunscreen Recommendations - - A Bit Misleading!

Normally I use EWG's database to look up toxicity of HBA products but I became a bit disappointed when I joined EWG's live chat the other day. I found out that the list of EWG's sunscreen recommendations are derived differently than their other products. In the past the safety data has been calculated from the list of ingredients but it's not the case with sunscreen. SafeMama asked some great questions and what we all learned was that “Sunscreen ratings differ from other Skin Deep ratings in that sun protection accounts for 2/3rds of the score, and ingredient hazards for 1/3. This is because of the known harmful effects of UV. We show the health score on every product page so people can incorporate this information into their decisions.” In some ways this is misleading. Yes, sun protection is important so I understand how that accounts for some portion of the score, but leaving only 1/3 of the score to the ingredients misrepresents what most people come to EWG for - the level of toxicity associated with a the ingredients in the product. For example, one brand on the "Top Recommended" list contains PEGs, propylene glycol, fragrance (fragrances often contain phthalates) and 3 different parabens. It is a mineral sunscreen which provides good protection, so it gets a good rating but because of the way the toxicity is derived, it misses that it contains many harmful chemicals. If this product's score were calculated like all other products, it would not fall within the "low toxicity" range!

So what do you do? I have thoroughly tested and recommend both California Baby SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion and Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen For Face & Body 2.9 oz (87 ml). Both are mineral sunscreens that provide good protection. You can read my review here. I am still in the process of testing a few others including Think Baby, Purple Prairie, Goddess Garden. These are mineral based sunscreens that ARE LOW IN TOXICITY so they get the thumbs up there but I do actually test the products to see if they provide protection for the amount of time indicated on the package. We've had about 2 weeks straight of rain lately so those results are still pending! If you'd like other recommendations, has a great sunscreen cheat sheet she's researched to be safe in terms of ingredients. For those I have tested, I concur with her results!

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