See entire June 22, 2011 newsletter

My 30 year old daughter Katie is outrageously funny at times. She says things that sometimes give people pause but laughter usually follows. Hard to get just the right flavor to this one but when something disgusts her, she says “Eeeewwww.” When I read the Environmental Working Group’s “Hall of Shame” list last week about sunscreens, I have to admit, (sounds like a website I could start) followed by feelings of rage, anger, frustration and a teeny tiny bit of discouragement all ran through me. People, we have to wake up. We have to get excited about reading labels and about making healthier choices. We have to believe that there is NO voice louder than the consumer voice AND we have to PUMP UP THE VOLUME! Our lives depend on it.

Needless to say, I hope this gets your attention and I hope you take time out of your busy life to follow the link and educate yourself about sunscreens.

But just in case you don’t – here are a few highlights from EWG’s Sunscreen Guide for 2011 for your reading pleasure:

Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 – Hawaiian Tropic’s website claims “Less Chemical Sunscreens” for this baby sunscreen stick. Truth is, it contains two chemicals that don’t belong on a baby’s skin – the hormone disruptor oxybenzone and a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate. A recent federal government study shows retinyl palmitate may speed up the growth of skin tumors.

The final straw? The UVA protection factor for this sunscreen is less than 10 – a far cry from the 50 SPF plastered on the package. It’s not good enough to be sold in Europe.”

Mrs. Green’s reaction: the printable version? It’s for BABIES, it has chemicals in it that may accelerate skin tumors and they make false claims about the protection level. Are you kidding me right now?

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55 – The label of this product says “mild as water.” We don’t think so.

The label also warns, “Stop use and ask a doctor if rash or irritation develops and lasts.” And you wouldn’t want a child to swallow it like water. The label adds, “keep out of reach of children” and “get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.”

Sunscreen makers can make exaggerated claims because the industry is unregulated. FDA officials have been promising they may wind up their deliberations later this year – and then give the industry a year to adjust. If that’s the case, the rules may be ready for beach season – in 2013. In the meantime, EWG has created this guide to give consumers information they need to make the right decisions for themselves and their families.”

Mrs. Green’s reaction: OMG – so it’s mild as water but it’s poison and you have to keep it out of the reach of children. But it’s fine to put it on their skin? And it may cause a rash or irritation? Non sequitur? Irritating MY skin just reading it? Are we, as consumers, really that clueless? What am I missing? indeed.

Okay – so you might be thinking “well, if I just pay a bit more, I am sure to be safe.” Not necessarily. One more…

Elizabeth Arden – Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face, SPF 50 – If you read the claims on the label – “helps protect your skin from sun exposure while hydrating for up to 8 hours” – you might think one coat would protect you until long after lunch. Not so.

Even though sunscreen makers like Elizabeth Arden can add stabilizing additives to slow down the pace with which the cream breaks down in sunlight, this product simply does not last for hours and hours on the skin. Sunscreens wash off in water, run off with sweat, rub off on clothes and towels – and deteriorate in sunlight.

Experts advise reapplying sunscreens every 2 hours max. Paying $30 for 8-hour hydration may not be the best choice for your wallet.”

Mrs. Green’s last words on this subject? I BEG you to read this entire article to educate yourself. And I really hate to beg but you are worth it.