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CDC finds toxic sunscreen chemical in 97% of Americans

Friday, March 28, 2008

sunscreen_helps.jpgMy favorite time of year is coming up really soon: flip flops and outside patios in restaurants, and I will be a happy person! But it's also the time of the year when I start wearing sunscreens (and you should too). Last summer, EWG created a great guide to sunscreens that I will be using again. Picking a good sunscreen is not an easy task, since we know that they are loaded with potentially dangerous chemicals. And new evidence is pouring in: A new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that nearly all Americans are contaminated with oxybenzone, a sunscreen chemical that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. The same chemical was recently linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy, according to a study from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

EWG found oxybenzone in almost 600 sunscreens sold in the U.S. We also found it in lip balm, lipstick, moisturizers and fragrance for women.

FDA hasn't assessed oxybenzone's safety since the '70s. That's when they announced plans to develop comprehensive standards for sunscreen safety. Thirty years later, there are still no finalized standards -- instead, FDA asks sunscreen manufacturers to voluntarily follow draft guidelines, and you and I get exposed to chemicals like oxybenzone without ever knowing about their harmful effects. FDA, it's time to straighten out this sunscreen business!