Editor’s Note: This post was written by Jenny Splitter and originally published at Grounded Parents.
I was hoping this summer would be a quiet one for sunscreen. Yes, the Environmental Working Group published its annual sunscreen guide, but I figured the staggering amount of criticism the EWG receives might finally persuade everyone in the media to ignore it.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Despite the bad press, recent articles in Mother Jones and Parents treat the EWG’s warnings as reliable, science-based information even though they’re not.
So, here’s some evidence-based advice in response:
Everybody calm the fuck down about your sunscreen!
For those who don’t know the EWG, they’re an organization funded in part by the organic and natural products industries and known primarily for their consumer guides for everything from apples to Zika bug repellent.
The EWG isn’t always wrong. They’re just mostly wrong. Their criticisms of ultra high SPF sunscreens and advice about bug repellent (someone pinch me — did the EWG just advise against essential oils?) both have merit. Unfortunately, those few kernels of fact aren’t really sufficient to outweigh the majority of the EWG’s flawed advice.
When it comes to sunscreen, the EWG tells consumers to buy natural and organic brands (some of whom happen to be corporate partners, more on this here and here) over more economical drugstore brands like Neutrogena and Banana Boat. Despite significant backlash from experts, these brands have made their list of worst sunscreens for at least the past two years.
These “worst” brands contain the ingredients oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, ingredients which the EWG believes should be avoided because they could be harmful to human health.
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