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New Bill Aims To Bring More Effective Sunscreens to Market

(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Washington, D.C. – The Environmental Working Group and other leading public health advocates are urging members of Congress to support a new bill that could bring more effective sunscreens to the U.S. market and help reduce the risk of skin cancer, diagnosed in 2 million Americans yearly.   

House Energy and Commerce committee members voted today to advance the Sunscreen Innovation Act introduced by Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. and John Dingell, D-Mich.

The bill aims to alleviate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s backlog of promising sunscreen ingredients and speed agency reviews to give consumers more options when it comes to sunscreen products. Currently the market offers a limited selection of sunscreens largely because the FDA has failed to approve new active ingredients quickly and efficiently.

“For too long, consumers and sunscreen makers have been waiting for FDA to determine whether ingredients commonly used and sold in the EU, Japan, Australia, Canada and elsewhere are safe and effective,” said Ken Cook, EWG president and cofounder. “Now, thanks to the leadership of Reps. Whitfield and Dingell, the wait may finally be over. While time will tell whether these sunscreen ingredients are as safe and effective as promised, the only way to find out is for Congress to act.” 

Last April, Scott Faber, EWG’s vice president for government affairs, urged lawmakers to support the bill during testimony before a House subcommittee. Faber said that most sunscreen products sold in the U.S. provide inadequate protection from UVA rays.

EWG has repeatedly asked the FDA to strengthen and finalize regulations governing the safety, effectiveness and labeling of sunscreens. Since 2007, EWG has published an annual Guide to Sunscreens that rates the safety and efficacy of products that advertise sun protection. Earlier this year, EWG launched a sun safety public education campaign in partnership with dermatologists and sunscreen companies to elevate people’s awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and to make sun protection measures as reflexive as the use of seat belts.

“In light of the seriousness of America’s skin cancer crisis and the long history of delay in the federal government to act, we believe the House and Senate should move quickly to get this legislation through Congress,” added Cook. “EWG is doing its part to bring attention to the alarming rise in skin cancer and the health risks associated with sun exposure and ineffective and even potentially harmful sunscreens.  It’s time for Congress to do its part.”