June 21, 2013

Gisela Telis [“Are sunscreen chemicals something to worry about?,” Health&Science, June 18] said sunscreen labels are confusing, yet they are clearer today than ever before thanks to new labeling requirements by the Food and Drug Administration. Still, there is vital a criterion for buying sunscreen: choosing those labeled “broad spectrum,” which protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. Casting doubt on the safety of sunscreens could potentially steer people away from one of best protections against UV exposure.

Overwhelming research shows sunscreens are safe and effective in protecting skin from UV radiation. Consumers deserve thoughtful research that ensures that the products they use are safe, but here is what we know now: UV exposure causes wrinkles and raises a person’s risk of developing deadly melanoma. The rate of melanoma is rising alarmingly, especially in young people. Protecting skin from UV exposure with a combination of sunscreen, protective clothing and shade is the smartest thing to do.

Timothy J. Turnham, Washington

The writer is executive director of the Melanoma Research Foundation.