By Stephanie Stahl


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s time to get your sunscreen ready for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but a new report from a consumer activist organization says nearly two-thirds of sunscreens on the market probably don’t do the job and are likely to be unsafe. The report comes from the Environmental Working Group.

The group did an evaluation of more than 1,300 products on the market and found many sunscreens may be providing inferior sun protection or contain potentially harmful chemicals. The sunscreens would flunk new standards proposed by the FDA in February, the report finds.

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The reason: they either contain oxybenzone, which can penetrate the skin, gets into the bloodstream and affects normal hormone activities, or they don’t meet FDA standards for UVA protection.

Earlier this year, the FDA proposed its new standards. The agency said 12 of 16 active ingredients in sunscreens have insufficient data from testing to determine whether they can be generally recognized as safe and effective.

Of the 16 sunscreen ingredients, only two were recognized by the FDA as proven safe and effective — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the two active ingredients in most mineral sunscreens.

But EWG researchers did find more than 260 sunscreens that met their criteria for safety and efficacy and would meet the proposed FDA standards.

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Most important, doctors say consumers should not stop using sunscreen, which provides essential protection against harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Make sure to do some research before you buy sunscreen because it’s important that you find a brand that meets the new standards.

Stephanie Stahl