Full Story at EnvironmentalWorkingGroup.com:
25 MAR 2008 A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that 97% of Americans are contaminated with a widely-used sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. A companion study published just one day earlier revealed that this chemical is linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy. Oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin.
Environmental Working Group identified nearly 600 sunscreens sold in the U.S. that contain oxybenzone, including products by Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone, and Banana Boat (see the full list of 588 sunscreens here) as well as 172 facial moisturizers, 111 lip balms, and 81 different types of lipstick.
EWG research shows that 84% of 910 name-brand sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients, like oxybenzone, with significant safety concerns.
Typically, women and girls had higher levels of oxybenzone in their bodies than men and boys, likely a result of differences in use of body care products including sunscreens.
A companion study released a day earlier revealed that mothers with high levels of oxybenzone in their bodies were more likely to give birth to underweight baby girls (Wolff 2008). Low birth weight is a critical risk factor linked to coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases in adulthood (Lau 2004).
One human study coapplying 3 sunscreen active ingredients (oxybenzone, 4-MBC, and octinoxate) suggested a minor, intermittent, but statistically significant drop in testosterone levels in men during a one-week application period (Janjua 2004). Researchers also detected statistically significant declines in estradiol levels in men; other hormonal differences detected could not be linked to sunscreen use due to differences in baseline hormone levels before and during treatment.