Article on EWG ‘worst’ sunscreens list goes viral

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sunscreen Ewg

Article on EWG ‘worst’ sunscreens list goes viral
As news of the Environmental Working Group’s list of worst sunscreens continues to spread in the US media, one article goes viral leading to fears for consumer safety and the reputation of sunscreen manufacturers.

The article was published last Friday on and details the EWG sunscreen report that was launched in mid-May. Since the online article went live it has set social media alight with more than 213,000 shares on Facebook alone, as of today.

The popularity of the article reflects consumer concerns about sunscreen product safety in the United States, especially now during the summer season, but experts believe that the EWG report contains inaccuracies and that the message could make people think twice about using sunscreens.

At the time of the EWG sunscreen report launch, experts from across the industry slammed the study, claiming it went thin on science and had some significant shortfalls.

Neutrogena got slammed but critics don't agree

The EWG sunscreen report singled out the worst brands for toxicity and false advertising, with the Neutrogena brand coming in for particularly harsh criticism.

“Neutrogena’s advertising hype is further from reality than any other major brand we studied. It claims to be the “#1 dermatologist recommended suncare brand, yet all four products highlighted on Neutrogena’s suncare web page rate 7, in the red – worst – zone in our database,” ​the EWG report stated and also highlighted.

The article also pointed to the EWG criticism that the Neutrogena brands contain oxybenzone, “a hormone-disrupting sunscreen filter”​ and 33 per cent contain retinyl palmitate, “a form of vitamin A linked to skin damage​”.

The online article has led to a long list of social media conversations and comments, with a number of posts coming from dermatologists and other industry experts.

Criticism is mainly aimed at the shortfalls in the science from the EWG report as well as the reporting in the article, with a number of commentators pointing to the fact that the chemicals singled out have been proven safe at the right dosing levels and are also included in the majority of sunscreens available on the US market.

Are experts worst fears about to become reality?

After its launch the Personal Care Products Council led a chorus of criticism, making this official statement on the matter:

“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.”

The PCPC also made specific reference to concerns over how it feared consumers may react to the report:

“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.”

Related topics Regulation & Safety Skin Care

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