On June 14 2011 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced proposed changes in sunscreen product labeling. The new regulation allows products that have passed the protection test in both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to be labeled “Broad Spectrum”. The goal is to provide standardized labeling to help consumers reduce the risk of skin cancer, early photoaging, and prevent sunburn. This is positive news to those that live deep in the heart of Texas where the sun can fry an egg on any city street between the months of May and September.
Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Janet Woodcock, M.D., states “FDA has evaluated the data and developed testing and labeling requirements for sunscreen products, so that manufacturers can modernize their product information and consumers can be well-informed on which products offer the greatest benefit.” As well as improved testing and labeling requirements the FDA mandates products that are not broad spectrum, or that are broad spectrum but contain SPF between 2 and14, require warning labels stating product does not prevent skin cancer or early photoaging.
This is the first time in more than 30 years that the FDA has attempted to regulate Sunscreen products. Environmental working group (EWG) released a new sunscreen report stating 60 percent of more than 500 sunscreen products with SPF 30+ provide inadequate UVA protection. Is the new FDA regulation enough?
Proposed grading scale will mandate the new FDA star rating be printing on sunscreen product packaging. If no star rating is received a “No UVA protection” label will be printed instead.
- One star, low UVA protection
- Two stars, medium UVA protection
- Three stars, high UVA protection
- Four stars, highest UVA protection
According to American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) there are more than 3.5 million skin cancers for every two million people diagnosed annually. Melanoma is the most serious and often life threatening form of skin cancer; more than 50,000 cases are reported each year. Use of sunscreen can greatly reduce the risk of skin cancer, early photoaging, and prevent sunburn. The proposed FDA regulations on sunscreen products are a good step in the right direction however consumers must educate themselves in proper sunscreen use. Don’t just blindly look for a high star rating. Read the ingredients; know what each item does and research if it is healthy for you and your family. Texas summers can be brutal; use Environmental working group (EWG) sunscreen guide and choose the sunscreen right for you and use it every day. Sunscreen is not just for your holiday’s spent down in Corpus Christi.Apply every morning no matter your destination. Enjoy the sun safely!