Cosmetic safety in question. Again.

No matter how safe or thoroughly tested cosmetic ingredients are, there’s always one (or two or more) that will always be put into question.

Just in time for the summer, the Environmental Working Group claimed that out of nearly 1,000 sunscreen products in the US market, four out of five offer inadequate protection from the sun or contain ingredients that may pose a health risk. The group said only 15% of 952 products they analyzed met their criteria for safety and effectiveness. EWG also said that many of sunscreen’s product claims are questionable.

“Until the Food and Drug Administration sets an effective date for these standards, industry is free to use hyped claims. Companies’ decisions to inflate claims has spurred class action lawsuits in California.”

In this New York Times article, several dermatologist are said to have reviewed the study and noted that EWG’s research is without basis in any accepted scientific standard.

“What they are doing is developing their own system for evaluating things,” said Dr. Warwick L. Morison, professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s photobiology committee, which tests sunscreens for safety and effectiveness. “Using this scale to say a sunscreen offers good protection or bad protection is junk science.”

In another controversial consumer product, several public advocates such as Beyond Pesticides, Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace US, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club, are asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cancel the non-medical uses of the antibacterial triclosan.

The groups said the antibacterial agent is no more effective than regular soap and water, and that it can be harmful to the environment because of its questionable degradability. The EPA has been soliciting public comments for the reregistration eligibility decision for triclosan.

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