Statement by Linda Loretz, PhD, Chief Toxicologist, Personal Care Products Council, in Response to the Wall Street Journal’s Column on Sunscreens



Lisa Powers, (202) 297-1232,
Jamie Kurke, (202) 258-5285,

Washington, D.C. – “The Wall Street Journal article, ‘Sunscreen Chemicals Accumulate in Body at High Levels,’ published July 17, 2020, is misleading and unnecessarily alarming about the safety of sunscreen products on the market today. The level of chemicals in the blood referred to in the article was the threshold set by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for requiring additional testing to determine if sunscreens currently on the market meet FDA’s standards to be considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). It did not represent a level considered to be unsafe.

“In fact, FDA’s statement on the study referenced in the article, published in January of this year, clearly states that absorption does not equal risk; FDA did not conclude that the study results indicated sunscreen ingredients are unsafe. FDA goes on to say that without further testing, it does not know what levels of absorption can be considered safe. Most importantly, FDA advises people to continue to use sunscreens in conjunction with other sun safety precautions while the Agency collects additional data.

“The comparison of the levels of sunscreen observed in the blood in FDA’s study to levels of THC (the active compound in marijuana) and alcohol after drinking two beers is another misguided attempt to needlessly scare consumers. A comparison of a controlled substance and an alcoholic beverage to sunscreen is entirely inappropriate, and the numbers are wildly inaccurate.

“The Personal Care Products Council and our member companies will continue to work cooperatively with FDA to determine what additional studies may be needed to ensure the ongoing safety of sunscreen active ingredients in the marketplace. We share FDA’s mission to protect public health and are committed to providing safe and effective products for consumers. We are proud that our industry offers innovative sunscreen products that help protect consumers from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.”


For more information on cosmetics and personal care products, please visit

Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is the leading national trade association representing global cosmetics and personal care products companies. Founded in 1894, PCPC’s approximately 600 member companies manufacture, distribute and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on and trust every day – from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance – personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.