The sunscreen you used over the summer is about 15 years out of date.
That’s because the FDA hasn’t approved applications for new sunscreen ingredients since the late 1990s.
The applications are mired in complex regulations that ironically were supposed to simplify FDA approval of ingredients that have been used safely in other countries.
“It’s just ridiculous,” says Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs for the Environmental Working Group. “Consumers in Canada, the EU, Australia, are able to use sunscreens that are much more effective at blocking out both UVA and UVB rays.”
Sunscreen makers have joined dermatologists in a coalition called PASS, or Public Access to Sunscreens. The coalition says manufacturers want access to the very latest ingredients.
“It would allow product developers to innovate and use new technologies and new science,” says Michael Werner, chief lobbyist for PASS.
While the FDA declined an interview, it did issue a statement saying that it “has prioritized reviewing the safety and effectiveness of additional sunscreen ingredients as quickly as possible given the agency’s resources.”
Graphic by Shea Huffman/Marketplace
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.