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Sunscreen Concerns Unfounded, Experts Say
Date:7/26/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Recent reports questioning the safety of many sunscreens have experts worried that some people may shun the very products that could save their lives, not to mention their skin.

The research behind these allegations -- that many topical sunscreens can cause skin cancer, including melanoma -- has mostly been in lab animals and is dubious at best, said Dr. Jeffrey Dover, president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

"Are you going to make a decision that could impact your -- or your kids' -- future by allowing yourself to get skin cancer and wrinkle and age prematurely based on some information from a lab study on animals in Europe? The answer is no," Dover said.

"I don't put that much stock [in the reports]," agreed Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The important thing is we do know that all waves of light are dangerous for the skin and can cause skin cancer. We know that. We know that protecting yourself from the sun makes a difference in minimizing skin cancer."

The controversy started last spring when the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which began annual sunscreen safety reports in 2007, called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to finish a review of data on the safety of retinyl palmitate, a derivative of vitamin A added to many sunscreens.

The compound, EWG stated, elevates the risk of skin cancer.

The EWG also objected to oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), another ingredient of many sunscreens, which it says is a hormone disruptor.

On June 14, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) voiced his concern, too, and demanded the FDA finish its review and release the results to the public, especially given this is the time of year more people are slathering on sunscreen.

Shelly L. Burgess, FDA spokeswoman, on Friday said the FDA is awaiting a final revie
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