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Will the FDA investigate sunscreen chemicals?

It’s widely known that most sunscreens contain dangerous chemicals, yet, just like cosmetic products that contain known toxic ingredients, harmful sunscreens are still readily available on store shelves. For the first time in decades, sunscreen regulations are set to be updated, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer from New York wants the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on the chemicals used in sunscreen.

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Under the new rules, the FDA will block PABA and trolamine salicylate from being used in sunscreens sold in the United States. But in Bryant Park Sunday, Schumer called for a review of every active ingredient in sunscreens — not just PABA and trolamine salicylate.

“Today, we are asking the FDA to do a complete and quick study of the other 12 chemicals," he said. "And if any of them are harmful, they should take them out of sunblock."

He continued, “As the summer begins, we are asking the FDA to quickly study these other 12 chemicals and ban them if they’re not good. Today we are telling the FDA what to do: Uncloud all the ingredients in sunscreen before closing the book on new rules.”

Research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 96% of the U.S. population has oxybenzone in their bodies — a known endocrine disruptor linked to reduced sperm count in men and endometriosis in women. The main source of this chemical? Sunscreens. Research has also shown that some common sunscreen ingredients are neurotoxic, posing a hazard to brain health and development.

To keep yourself safe, your best bet is to cover up with clothing once you’ve reached your ideal sun exposure time. If you absolutely want to use a sunscreen lotion or cream, your safest bet is to use a topical zinc oxide or titanium dioxide product that does not contain nanosized particles. If you’re not sure where to start, head on over to the Environmental Working Group.

Each year they release their top picks of highly recommended sunscreens, based on ingredient safety and product effectiveness. Some of the worst-scoring sunscreens for kids include brands you’ve likely heard of — Banana Boat, Coppertone and Neutrogena.

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