Monday, September 20, 2010

Spreading of misleading Information on Sunscreens and the EWG

By guest writer Elizabeth Wagner BABA, MSCJ, PhD Criminal Justice Learner (ABD)

The media created by skin care companies increasingly makes the public think their product is capable of achieving a significant and lasting improvement of sun-damaged skin This advertising is misleading and confuses the public into believing skin care products purchased over the counter are capable of miracles. Once applied to the skin, most over the counter products sit at the surface of the skin and do not penetrate deeply where the damage needs are, therefore no effects occur except a waste of money.

What the public needs to know is that the majority of over the counter products do not have associated data and evidence from studies (studies produce knowledge and facts) to prove the effectiveness of their products. Such evidence is available in peer-reviewed articles. As long as society vales a tanned complexion, and the media continues to promote tanning either from the sun or from tanning beds, the effects of skin damage will continue to rise. The public needs valuable information, information that has evidence to the effectiveness of applying sunscreen. What society does not need, is a false reports from websites such as the Environmental Working Group, or EWG.

Latest EWGs claim that sunscreens are ineffective, lack the scientific credibility. The result of such is the negative feedback on companies that are truly working to decrease the incidents of sun cancer and other damage caused by the sun. Companies that are developing sunscreens that not only prevent sun damage, but promote health of people are finding reports that discredit the use of sunscreens. However, there is no scientific evidence that proves such.

The EWG establishes its own scientific and regulatory safety assessment process for sunscreen products and ingredients. Further, a sunscreen product rating system developed by the EWG guides their opinions and experts have proven the data promoted by the EWG as inaccurate and unreliable. Most alarming, is the citing of increasing skin cancer rates and questioning of sunscreen efficacy in preventing cancer by the EWG. The problem is a failure to consider the skin cancer rates as a result of excessive sun exposure from not reading true statistics produced by scholars from actual scientific studies (Bailey, 2010).

Medical research has proven well established data to the consensus that sunscreen use helps to protect against skin cancer. The 2010 EWG sunscreen report claims that sunscreens break down when exposed to sunlight and instantly stop working. However, sunscreen developers take this breaking down into consideration to develop the most effective product. Companies are not going to continue to develop sunscreens if they didn’t support the prevention of cancer and other health problems.

The time, money, and research it takes in developing a sunscreen is the life and blood of the company. Years spent on research as a result of the statistics on cancer and other health problems is what makes the most effective and safe sunscreen. Overall, the EWG lacks the rigor and reliability of formal, expert evaluation, and does not have peer-reviewed data (articles produced by scholar experts) to support their claims, misleading consumers. As a scholar myself, I understand and value the importance of peer-reviewed articles. To be published and presented as fact, articles and claims have to be evaluated and tested rigorously, often taking many months or years to perfect.

Peer review is essential before results of a study can be accurately interpreted or used to support conclusions. The process of peer-reviewing involves scholars and practitioners spending a conservable amount of time justifying the results of studies and claims. In the end, peer-reviewed articles become the knowledge we know and what our children in the future will be taught. As the highest form of knowledge, peer-reviewed articles set the knowledge base for the world we know.

The EWG report has no peer-reviewed articles or studies to back its findings. The scholarly world does not accept information from websites like the EWG or Wikipedia. The fact of the matter is that if it is not peer reviewed, it is not fact. Endless websites offer information on the value and effectiveness of their products, however, they lack the studies to prove such and the result are consumers who are misled into buying their products, which have no benefits what’s so ever. If you want valuable information seek the right sources, do not believe everything that is on the internet, as most of what you see is posted by every day people like yourself.

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