Thursday, May 24, 2012
Reed Amendment Ensures No More Delays on Improved Sunscreen Rules
WASHINGTON, DC - In a victory for consumers, the U.S. Senate has accepted Senator Jack Reed’s (D-RI) amendment forcing the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to put comprehensive new sunscreen standards into effect this year. The legislation is expected to pass the full Senate later today as part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act.
Because sunscreens have been considered a cosmetic, they have largely avoided government oversight and the FDA hasn't changed its recommendations for sunscreen standards in over 30 years.
However, last June, after years of prodding by Senator Reed, the FDA ordered comprehensive new sunscreen regulations that were scheduled to go into effect on June 18, 2012. But this month the FDA announced it is now giving the industry an extra six months to make changes, meaning they will take effect in mid-December instead of this summer.
Reed’s amendment puts a firm date in place and will prevent the FDA from granting future extensions.
“For too long the FDA has allowed manufacturers to get away with inaccurate claims about sun protection. The FDA has been considering regulations to restrict these claims since 1978. My amendment will protect against future delays and ensure new sunscreen safety and labeling standards go into effect this year,” said Reed, who wrote the Sunscreen Labeling Protection (SUN) Act.
Among the changes FDA is supposed to make:
• In order for sunscreens to be labeled as "Broad Spectrum" they must block both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause skin aging; UVB rays cause sunburn. Both can cause cancer.
• Products with SPFs below 15 must display a warning that it has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.
• The terms “sunblock,” “sweatproof,” and “waterproof” will no longer be permitted. Sunscreens may claim to be “water-resistant,” but must specify whether they protect skin for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, based on standard testing.
• Products may no longer claim to provide sun protection for more than two hours without submitting test results to prove it.
• All sunscreens must include standard “Drug Facts” information on the back or side of the container.