Today the Environmental Working Group released their annual report about sunscreens, which called into question the safety of oxybenzone and some Vitamin A derived products when used in sunscreens. My complaint isn’t about whether they are right or wrong.
I find it perplexing that the EWG is making money off sunscreens they are claiming cause cancer and a host of other problems.
How is this happening? As of today, 05-24-10, the EWG.org website has a “buy from Amazon” link on pages of sunscreen they “rate.” When a user clicks on this links and buys the alleged “cancer causing product”, the Environmental Working Group gets paid. Simple, it’s called affiliate advertising. Likewise I find it odd that the EWG releases their “Best Sunscreen” list and then makes money off sales of those sunscreens under the affiliate program.
This sort of tactic calls into question the “independence” and “integrity” of an organization that claims to be watching out for the public. I understand that everybody, including the EWS, has to make money. But, making recommendations and then making money off of those recommendations (and making money off selling things that you claim cause cancer), - especially when we may or may not be talking about people getting cancer or not - really calls into question the intentions, policies, and decision making of the EWG. We aren’t taking about reviewing dvd players and then making money off sales of them. EWG is making some pretty bold claims about sunscreen safety here. Different ballgame.