Senate Committee Moves Bill To Bring New Sunscreens to U.S. Market

Washington, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions today approved a bill that could bring new and effective sunscreen ingredients to the U.S. market and help reduce the rate of skin cancer.

The Sunscreen Innovation Act, introduced by Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), would accelerate the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of promising sunscreen ingredients already in use abroad, including the European Union and Canada. The Reed-Isakson bill would set hard deadlines for FDA review of ingredients and would require the agency to act in a timely manner.

The bill passed unanimously by voice vote.

“U.S. sunscreen manufacturers are not able to use a number of effective and safe ingredients that are used in sunscreens sold in many other parts of the world because of the backlog of ingredients waiting for agency approval,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president of government affairs.  “It’s critical for the Senate to move this bill swiftly to ensure a speedier review process that will give Americans access to sunscreens that provide greater protection from the sun’s harmful rays.”

Access to sunscreens that provide better balanced UVA and UVB protection could help lower the skyrocketing cases of skin cancer in the U.S.  More than two million are diagnosed annually, including 60,000 new cases of melanoma, resulting in 9,000 deaths.

Last July, the House of Representatives passed a similar bill sponsored by Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.).

“The FDA created a process to review these sunscreen ingredients in 2002 and have disappointingly approved no new ingredients since then,”  Faber said. “Of the eight ingredients currently under review by the agency, six have been awaiting action for more than eight years. Consumers need more options than the limited selection they now have when shopping for safe and effective sunscreens.”

Earlier this year, EWG launched a sun safety public education campaign in partnership with dermatologists and sunscreen companies to increase the public’s awareness of the dangers of sun exposure. EWG publishes an annual Guide to Sunscreens that rates the safety and efficacy of products that advertise sun protection.

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