Beware Misleading Sunscreen SPF Label Ratings

Beware Misleading Sunscreen SPF Label Ratings

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Sunbathers this summer will find new sunscreen labels that are designed to make the products more effective and easier to use.

But despite those long-awaited changes, many sunscreens continue to carry SPF ratings that some experts consider misleading and potentially dangerous, a consumer watchdog group says.

A survey of 1,400 sunscreen products by the Environmental Working Group finds that most meet new federal requirements. The new Food and Drug Administration rules ban terms like "waterproof," and require that sunscreens filter out both ultraviolet A and B rays. UVA rays pose the greatest risk of skin cancer and wrinkles.

Despite that broader protection, one in seven products reviewed by the watchdog group boasted sun protection factor, or SPF, ratings above 50, which have long been viewed with skepticism by experts.

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