Eighty-four percent of name-brand sunscreens tested offered inadequate protection from the sun or contained at least one ingredient with "significant safety concerns," the US Environmental Working Group (EWG) said in releasing results on 783 products evaluated.
While the findings do not directly apply to the South African market, they may well trigger a similar investigation into locally available sunscreens.
"Only 16 percent of the products on the US market are both safe and effective, blocking both UVA and UVB radiation, remaining stable in sunlight, and containing few if any ingredients with significant known or suspected health hazards," the Washington, DC-based group said in an analysis posted on its Web site.
At least 48 percent of products evaluated had unacceptable or misleading marketing claims, including terms like "all day protection," "mild as water," and "blocks all harmful rays," the EWG said.
Ingredients contained in some of the sunscreens "release skin damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like oestrogen and could disrupt hormone systems, several are strongly linked to allergic reactions, and still others may build up in the body or the environment," the group warned.
The EWG criticised the US government for not approving mandatory safety standards for sunscreens, leaving manufacturers to "make their own decisions on everything from advertising claims to product quality." – (HealthDayNews)
Sunscreen can damage your skin