FDA extends feedback period on new sunscreen regulations

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

The FDA has extended the feedback period on the sunscreen
regulations proposed this summer, in response to calls from
industry for time to complete laboratory tests.

The new regulations proposed in August of this year concerned the testing and labeling requirements for products that protect against UVA rays.

The FDA originally gave a feedback period of ninety days, until November the 26 th which has now been extended a month to December the 26 th , due to industry pressure.

According to the regulatory body, nine requests were received, eight of which called for an additional nine months, as the companies wished to complete more laboratory tests.

The FDA however, has extended the period by one month, as to extend it any further might compromise consumer safety, says the body.

'By extending the comment period for 30 days, FDA is balancing industry concerns and the interests of public health to ensure that sunscreen products properly inform consumers of the level of protection they provide,' said the body.

The new regulations followed a campaign launched earlier this summer by Congresswoman Nita Lowey, calling for an improvement to the legislation of sunscreen products, in particular their UVA protective capacities.

The proposed UVA rating system works on a scale of one to four stars, with one star providing a low level of protection, two providing medium, three high, and four the highest level of protection available in over the counter sunscreens.

If the sunscreen is not awarded even a one star for low level UVA protection the proposals suggest that 'no UVA protection' be required on the front label near the SPF value.

In addition to the rating system, the new proposals would require a warning statement to appear in the 'Drug Facts' box on the label stating that 'UV exposure from the sun increases the risk of skin cancer, premature skin aging, and other skin damage.

It is important to decrease UV exposure by limiting time in the sun, wearing protective clothing, and using a sunscreen' .

Similar recommendations were put into place last year, in the EU, aiming to improve awareness of the dangers of UVA damage to skin and to ensure that consumers have the means of identifying products that provide adequate protection for both types of UV rays.

More recent EU regulation includes the eradication of the terms 'total protection' and 'complete sunblock', as the EC claim that even the high SPF let some radiation through, with the industry being asked to amend all labels by next year.

Such measures may also become a reality in the US, with lobby group the Environmental Working Group claiming that at least 51 per cent of sunscreens currently sold on the US market contain false information, including 'providing all-day protection' or 'blocks all harmful rays'.

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