Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FDA Releases New (but Limited) Sunscreen Rules

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new rules yesterday concerning sunscreens, the first new regulations in over 30 years.

The new rules deal mostly with marketing and product labeling. For example, sunscreens will no longer be allowed to be deemed "waterproof," "sweatproof" or "sunblock," as these statements are untrue.

Unfortunately, the FDA did not address the actual composition of sunscreens; many scientists believe some ingredients in popular lotions are causing more harm than good.

As I mentioned last week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) offers its 2011 Sunscreen Guide, a great resource on the subject.

EWG recommends mineral sunscreens using zinc and titanium, which offer better UVA protection.

In addition, we should be avoiding lotions containing vitamin A/retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone, because of their possible endocrine-disrupting and carcinogenic properties.

Click here to read more about vitamin A/retinyl palmitate.

Click here to read more about oxybenzone, which, according to EWG, is especially dangerous for children "because of its ability to penetrate the skin and its association with allergic reactions and potential hormone disruption."


Andrew Schildcrout said...

Thanks rob, so are we good with most of the whole foods products? Are these "bad" ingredients not "natural"?
Thanks for all the great info.

Chef Rob said...


I would say most of the Whole Foods products are good (and definitely better than the big commercial brands), but it always helps to check EWG's database. The same holds true for shampoos, skin creams, deodorants, etc.

Hope that helps.