Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Lobbying Group Poses as Consumer Group to Attack Environmental Group over Sunscreens

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

lobbying group attacks the Environmental Working Group over use of vitamin A in sunscreensNow that the age of newspeak is firmly upon us, it’s not suprising that an organization with a seemingly straightforward name like “Center for Consumer Freedom” is not a consumer protection group.  CCF  is a lobbying group that has, among other things, worked for the tobacco industry to thwart smoking bans. Its latest target is the Environmental Working Group, and the subject is EWG’s recent report involving the use of vitamin A in sunscreens.


According to SourceWatch, CCF’ usually positions itself as an authority on an issue and then undermines the credibility of scientific research on that topic.  They’ve used this approach to attack research on issues ranging from obesity and mercury poisoning to pharmaceuticals and pesticides, and the vitamin A issue looks like a textbook case of their methodology.

Vitamin A and Sunscreens

CCF’ put out a press release on August 16 that starts off with a general attack on EWG’s entire body of work before declaring that “Not even vitamin A is safe from EWG’s poison pen.” Basically they’ve set EWG up to look laughable for making us scared of vitamin A. Well actually, something you take orally can have very different effects if you slather it on your skin.  More to the point, the stuff used in some sunscreens is a form of vitamin A (not just plain old “vitamin A”), and there are other forms of vitamin A such as retinol that work as a skin irritant, and any decent online health adviser will warn you to avoid the sun when using skin products that contain retinol, so no, it is not laughable to take a look at research from the Food and Drug Administration that explores the potential health impacts of overusing skin products that contain a form of vitamin A, which is what EWG did.

Pitting Scientists Against Each Other

CCF also declares, without citation, that 70 percent of the members of the Society of Toxicology have a general problem with EWG. Setting aside the question of how reliable that figure is (and what it actually means), a quick search of the ol’ tubes reveals bad blood between the Society and EWG on an unrelated matter, so it’s not entirely clear that a survey of Society members is a reliable indicator of EWG’s professional standards.

The takeaway: when reporting on science issues, it’s a cop-out to seek two opposing sides and give each equal credibility. Instead of achieving journalistic objectivity, the failure to investigate and weigh sources is itself a powerful form of bias, which plays right into the hands of front groups by providing one side’s position with a force that is not borne out by the facts.

Image: Sun on skin by Jessica Rabbit on

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.
Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Spoutible.


You May Also Like

Cap And Trade

For projects expected to be built in 2030 in the EU, they have to account for the carbon dioxide and equivalent emissions at around...

Clean Power

Fish oil can help boost the efficiency of systems that combine excess heat recovery with solar cells.

Autonomous Vehicles

Keep an eye out for electric vehicles that look like ordinary freight cars, testing soon on railways in the US.


This tectonic shift, while it will take decades instead of the seconds of the Christchurch cataclysm, will be more broadly disruptive. We can manage...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.