Statement by Farah K. Ahmed, Chair, Sunscreen Task Force, Personal Care Products Council in Response to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2015 Sunscreen Shopping Guide
“While the Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2015 Sunscreen Shopping Guide helps raise awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and the importance of using sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, it also contains false information, inaccuracies, and methodology flaws that ultimately render it misleading and potentially harmful to public health.
“This year’s shopping guide contains little new information and is virtually identical to its 2014 and 2013 predecessors. As in previous years, this year’s guide is not a scientific document, nor has it been peer reviewed or reviewed for accuracy by recognized sunscreen experts. At best, it is an inaccurate document that should not be used to assess sunscreens or make shopping decisions.
“Our greatest concern is that the report is falsely alarming and may result in even more people avoiding the use of sunscreen on themselves or their children. People are already not adequately protecting themselves from the sun. In fact, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that approximately 43% of men and 27% of women never use sunscreen on their faces or other exposed skin. This is particularly concerning when we consider:
- Every year, there are more than 63,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, resulting in nearly 9,000 deaths;
- Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with 5 MILLION PEOPLE treated each year;
- More than 1 out of every 3 Americans reports getting sunburned each year. Sunburn is a clear sign of overexposure to the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays, a major cause of skin cancer – a single bad burn in childhood doubles the risk of developing melanoma later in life.
“In addition to FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Surgeon General, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the Skin Cancer Foundation and health care professionals worldwide all emphasize that using sunscreens is a critical part of a safe sun regimen. The dangers of sun exposure are clear and universally recognized by public health professionals and dermatologists.
“As sunscreen manufactures, our goal is to provide Americans with access to a wide variety of safe, effective and innovative sunscreens to use as an important part of an overall sun safe regimen.”