FDA issues new labeling guidelines for sunscreens

FDA issues new labeling guidelines for sunscreens

FDA issues new labeling guidelines for sunscreens

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by ABC

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 9:03 AM

(ABC)--New sunscreen guidelines may change the way you spend time in the sun as labels are now required to reveal whether sunscreen really protects against the rays that cause cancer.

After 30 years of debate and hundreds of thousands of new melanoma diagnoses the FDA has finally agreed on a clear system to label sunscreens and tell you what they can and can't do.

Starting next year, labels will no longer be able to claim a sunscreen is waterproof or sweat proof.  The FDA said there's no such thing. 

In order to claim it protects against skin cancer, a sunscreen will also be required to block both UVA and UVB rays and have an SPF of at least 15. 

“Any sunscreen that is not broad spectrum, or is broad spectrum but is lower than 15, will be required to have a warning statement," Jane Woodcock, FDA spokesperson, said.

For years, the government only required sunscreens to have UVB protection.  UVB rays can burn the surface of your skin and possibly cause cancer, but UVA rays are just as dangerous.

Even with the new labeling guidelines, it's still buyer beware. 

Just this month Consumer Reports tested sunscreens against the UVB rays that cause sunburn and the UVA rays that penetrate deeper and age skin, and testing showed that not all protected as promised

The good news is, more people are aware of the dangers of the sun than ever before. 
 

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