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ConsumerWatch: Environmental Group Raises Concerns About Sunscreens

OAKLAND (CBS 5) -- The Environmental Working Group is out with a new report that claims 75 percent of sunscreens now on the market contain potentially harmful ingredients.

"American consumers are really left in the dark when it comes to picking a good sunscreen," said Leeann Brown, of the group's Oakland office.

Brown said her organization reviewed more than 1,800 personal care products that claim to offer sun protection. She said many contained one of two questionable ingredients: retinol palmitate and oxybenzone.

>>Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide

Brown says retinol palmitate, a form of Vitamin A is, "an ingredient that's been shown to expedite the development of skin tumors and skin lesions." She says Oxybenzone "has been linked to hormone disruption."

The Personal Care Products Council is disputing the report, calling it "irresponsible," and "wrong."

The report also found improvement in the quality of sun protection products marketed to children. Brown said 60 percent of those did not contain questionable ingredients.

"We were glad to see the children's market look a little bit more positive," she told CBS 5 Consumerwatch.

The E.W.G. recommends consumers look for sun protection products that contain zinc oxide, avobenzone and titanium dioxide. The group also recommends buying sunscreen that with an SPF between 30 and 50.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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