Screenings Sunscreens

photograph of someone applying sunscreen
Photograph courtesy of Hacklock via Creative Commons.

I’m one of those grocery shoppers who turns the package around to check the ingredients, before I buy it for the first time. Checking food packages is relatively easy, because I expect only recognizable simple ingredients. As they say, would my Great Grandmother recognize this as food? What about sunscreen? How can you tell if it’s safe?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has done extensive research to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of over 1800 sunscreens on the market, so you don’t have to. Their sixth annual 2012 Sunscreen Guide lists the best and worst sunscreens. It’s worth a look to make sure your sunscreen isn’t on their “Hall of Shame.” The EWG also provides detailed information about potentially harmful sunscreen ingredients.

For more information about sunscreen safety, check out my KQED Quest blog.

Author: Jennifer Huber

As a Ph.D. physicist and research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, I gained extensive experience in medical imaging and technical writing. Now, I am a full-time freelance science writer, editor and science-writing instructor. I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of my life and I frequently enjoy the eclectic cultural, culinary and outdoor activities available in the area.

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