House Readies to Advance Sunscreen Innovation Act

Every year, more than 2 million Americans get diagnosed with skin cancer, including melanoma, the most dangerous form. Over the past 35 years, in fact, the rate of new melanoma cases has tripled. To meet this threat, EWG’s Sun Safety Campaign is working with forward-thinking companies and dermatologists to bring sun safety to top-of-mind awareness and to spread the word on how to protect yourself, and your family, while you’re enjoying time in the sun.

Wearing protective clothing and avoiding intense sunlight are the best strategies for minimizing the danger, but sunscreens with safe ingredients that provide balanced UVA and UVB protection may reduce long-term skin damage and help lower the risk of skin cancer. EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens, which has been rating the safety and efficacy of products that advertise sun protection every year since 2007, is one tool you can use to navigate the overwhelming sunscreen aisle.

Unfortunately, companies that make sunscreens in the United States currently have limited options for formulating their products, and most of them provide inadequate protection from UVA rays. That’s largely because the Food and Drug Administration has failed to review and approve promising sunscreen ingredients that have been sold for years in Europe, Australia and other countries. Of eight chemicals FDA is currently evaluating, six have been under review for more than eight years.

This could soon change if Congress passes the Sunscreen Innovation Act introduced by Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.), which will be voted on by the full House later today (July 28).

The bill aims to alleviate the FDA’s backlog by expediting reviews of promising sunscreen ingredients while ensuring that the agency has the authority to keep unsafe ingredients off the market. This would give consumers more options.

EWG applauds Reps. Whitfield and Dingell for their efforts to accelerate FDA’s review of the safety and efficacy of sunscreen ingredients and we look forward to working with Congress to enact legislation that could help reduce the risk of skin cancer.

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