FDA proposes new rules for sunscreen labels

Marketplace Staff May 31, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

FDA proposes new rules for sunscreen labels

Marketplace Staff May 31, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

by Brett Neely

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing new rules that would require sunscreen labels to indicate how well a given product protects users against UV-A. Current rules for sunscreen labels were first written in the 70s, when the effects of UV-A radiation weren’t entirely understood. The SPF number on sunscreen only tells you how well it protects against UV-B radiation, which causes sunburns.

Steven Wang, a dermatologist working with the Skin Cancer Foundation, says it’s about time sunscreen labels included the effects of UV-A. “Right now the consumer has no way of knowing which product provides good UV-A protection.”

The FDA’s Matt Holman details some of the harmful side effects of UV-A radiation. “There’s all sorts of damage that can lead to skin cancer, there’s damage that can lead to premature aging.”

The proposed FDA rules, which would create a new ranking system, likely won’t be ready until October. Sunscreen makers will get another year and a half after the system’s institution before they would have to put the new labels on their products. Americans bought nearly $800 millions worth of sunscreen last year.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.