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EWG to FDA: Current Sunscreen Regulations Aren’t Enough

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Environmental Working Group is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to finish the job of issuing comprehensive and enforceable regulations to ensure that sunscreens on the U.S. market are truly safe and effective.

The federal agency began its sunscreen rulemaking process more than 30 years ago and finally issued a limited set of regulations in 2011. But, as EWG pointed out in a letter to the FDA this week, a number of key issues are still on the table.

In particular, the FDA’s standard for what constitutes a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen is so weak that almost any product on the market can make that claim, and the agency has taken no action against the sale of spray sunscreens even though it acknowledges that they can be inhaled and may not work. EWG also believes that the FDA should cap SPF (sun protection factor) ratings at SPF 50, since higher values give consumers a false sense of security, and should approve new, more effective sunscreen ingredients used in Europe while regulating components that pose health risks, including oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. Both are currently used in U.S. products.

Incidence of deadly melanoma skin cancer has tripled in the last 35 years, and EWG believes it is long past time for the FDA to do more to ensure that consumers are well informed and protected by their sunscreens. 

Every year, EWG publishes its Sunscreen Guide, which rates the safety and efficacy of more than 1,400 products that advertise protection from the sun. Use the guide to find the best protection for you and your family this summer!


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