CBS's Regan Burns Sunscreen Makers with Biased Report
The â€śCBS Evening Newsâ€ť has found another corporate villain it says needs more FDA regulation: sunscreen manufacturers.
But it was reporter Trish Regan who burned her audience by leaving out pertinent information and stacking the deck with two critics of sunscreen makers. In her critique, she neglected to include sunscreen company representatives or dermatologists.
Regan warned viewers of her August 17 story that â€śyour lotion may be promising more than it can deliver, especially when it comes to protecting you from all the sunâ€™s harmful rays.â€ť
â€śMost of the sunscreen formulations you find out on the market really [only] protect for UVB radiation,â€ť Consumer Union scientist Urvashi Rangan complained to Regan.
The CBS correspondent went on to explain that the SPF factor listed on sunscreen â€śrefers only to UVB protectionâ€ť but that â€śUVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, lowering our resistance to skin cancer and causing skin to age.â€ť
Regan then complained that the FDA has â€śno standards for measuringâ€ť a sunscreenâ€™s effectiveness at blocking UVA rays, but in doing so left out the reason why: SPF is simply a measure of the time it takes to develop sunburn, and even that varies widely depending on the individual.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), â€śSPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin.â€ť
Whatâ€™s more, not only are UVA radiationâ€™s effects less noticeable and harder to quantify, according to the AAD, â€śEven on a cloudy day, 80 percent of the sunâ€™s ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds.â€ť
Simply put, oneâ€™s exposure to the long-term damage from UVA radiation can come from the vast majority of our time outdoors when weâ€™re not wearing sunscreen.
But just how misleading are sunscreen claims of UVA protection? Sunscreen that contains certain such ingredients as â€śbenzophenones, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone,â€ť says the AAD, extends â€śthe coverage beyond the UVB range and into the UVA range, helping to make sunscreens broad-spectrum.â€ť
In fact, one of the lotions Regan held up as misleading, Coppertone Sport, is one of 14 brands of lotion that Coppertone manufactures â€śthat contain photostabilized avobenzone or zinc oxide [to] provide broad-spectrum protection,â€ť according to the company Web site.
After airing Democratic Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthalâ€™s call for more FDA regulation, Regan closed her story by urged sun worshipers to remember that â€śdoctors say for the best protection, seek the shade.â€ť
Yet even sunscreen companies remind their customers of that fact. On its Web site, Coppertone urges customers to â€śstay in the shade whenever possibleâ€ť and to wear â€śdark-colored, tightly woven clothing, along with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.â€ť Banana Boatâ€™s Web site also urges users to â€śWear sun-protective clothing. If you hold fabric up to a light and the light doesnâ€™t shine through, you know youâ€™re safe.â€ť