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New Report Finds Harmful Ingredients In Sunscreens

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- When you slather on that sunscreen, do you really know what you're putting on and more importantly, what's going into your body?

Living in South Florida and wearing sunscreen go hand in hand, but a report finds many of the products on store shelves don't offer adequate protection or they include potentially harmful ingredients.

Vanessa Prota regularly puts sunscreen on her kids. Whether the family is getting ready for the beach or visiting the park on a cloudy day, they're avoiding sunburns and avoiding certain chemicals by buying mineral-based sunscreens. Prota says it's not hard to find.

"There are safer products available now in more mainstream stores," explained Nneka Leiba with the Environmental Working Group. She also pays attention to what's in the sunscreen. Her team evaluated more than 18-hundred different products and found just 25% met the group's standards.

"How effective they are at providing broad-spectrum protection, and then we look at the inactive ingredients to make sure that those also aren't linked to health harm," Leiba says.

The FDA is now researching sunscreen chemicals and new rules are expected in the fall. But EWG is urging consumers to switch to mineral products now.

Some sunscreens say on the front label that they're mineral-based, but every sunscreen lists its active ingredients on the back.

EWG says look for zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or both, the minerals reflect UV rays and are not absorbed in the skin. The group says avoid sunscreens with the chemical oxybenzone, which is easily absorbed and linked to health concerns.

The Environmental Working Group also recommends avoiding sprays over aerosol concerns and because it's hard to get a uniform coating.

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