More Sunscreen Confusion: FDA Delays New Sunscreen-Label Guidelines

Libby Cross

We recently reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was on track to implement some important new regulations that would require sunscreen manufacturers to be much more accurate in their labeling. However, due to manufacturers finding it difficult to meet the June 2012 deadline, the FDA has announced that they will have another six months to comply with the laws. Smaller companies will have even longer, until December 2013.

Under the new laws, the FDA was set to implement the changes in order to protect consumers from misleading and potentially harmful labels. Manufacturers would have to clearly distinguish which sunscreens are “broad spectrum” (they protect ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays), and cannot claim that their products are “sweatproof” or “water resistant”. Even more importantly, only sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher can claim to protect against skin cancer; anything with a lower SPF can only claim to protect against sunburn.

While the FDA argues that the extension is justified to prevent sunscreen shortages, many are still concerned that this is more than just a bump in the road. “The FDA took a major step backwards today, and as a result, more consumers will likely get burned this summer,” Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed told the Associated Press.


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