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FDA Issues New Sunscreen Guidelines
Vol. 825 
June 16, 2011

Aiming to reduce the risk of skin cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced new rules for sunscreen testing and labeling, changing guidelines that have been in place for the last 33 years. The agency's updated regulations will specify whether a sunscreen is a broad spectrum product – meaning it provides protection against both UVB and UVA radiation. "These changes to sunscreen labels are an important part of helping consumers have the information they need so they can choose the right sun protection for themselves and their families," said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Set to take effect next summer, the new rules will also ban sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are waterproof or sweatproof. Instead, companies will be able list the amount of time in which their product is resistant to water, based on test results. In addition, only sunscreens that have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher will be permitted to claim they reduce the risk of cancer and the onset of skin aging.

"The risks to sun exposure are real and education and clarified label requirements are not a bad thing," said Brandon Mackay, president of SnugZ USA (asi/88060), which supplies sunscreen products in the ad specialty market. "I don't think this will have a negative impact on the industry, but I do encourage our buyers and consumers to ask the right questions of their supplier partners and be sure to only use those with the highest standards and testing validation to support their claims."

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