FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2010

SCHUMER REVEALS: EVIDENCE MOUNTING THAT SUGGESTS POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN CHEMICAL FOUND IN MOST SUNSCREENS AND SKIN CANCER, FDA HAS BEEN STUDYING ISSUE FOR ALMOST A YEAR; SCHUMER CALLS ON FDA TO MAKE RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION IMMEDIATELY CLEAR


Several Studies Raise Concerns Over Potential Link Between Retinyl Palmitate (RA), A Common Sunscreen Additive, and Skin Cancer; FDA Has Been Reviewing the Data Since July 2009 But Has Yet to Provide Ruling

As Summer Gets Underway and Beach Season is Here, Schumer Urges the FDA to Act Swiftly in Their Final Assessment of the Data

Schumer: Time is of the Essence and the FDA Needs to Provide Guidance and Reassurance to Consumers

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately address recent reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and a common chemical found in sunscreens. Studies from the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) have suggested a possible link between skin cancer and retinyl palmitate, a common ingredient found in sunscreen products. While the research has been completed since July 2009, the FDA has yet to issue a final assessment or guidance on the data.

 

Standing at Rochester’s Oklahoma Beach, Schumer said that considering the serious implications of the studies and the fact that consumers use sunscreen products to protect themselves from UV rays and skin cancer, consumers deserve to hear the FDA’s evaluation of the data immediately. In light of the delays, Schumer is pushing the FDA to promptly address these studies and also announce a timeline for new sunscreen regulations.

 

“Here on Oklahoma Beach families and young adults are using sunscreen and they have a right to know whether there is an ingredient in there that could be harmful to them or their families,” Schumer said. “This report doesn’t do any good if it’s just sitting in a filing cabinet somewhere- the information is too important.”  

 

Retinyl palmitate is an ingredient found in most of the 500 most popular sunscreen products. Scientists at both the NCTR and the NTP have been working diligently over the last decade at the FDA’s request in order to determine whether this Vitamin A derivative, retinyl palmitate, is safe to use in sunscreen products. In one study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in retinyl palmitate-laced cream than animals treated with a cream that did not contain RP. While these studies have been completed for almost a year now, the FDA has not issued an assessment of ruling on either of them.

 
As the summer season begins, Schumer is urging the FDA to work to make public their reviews and assessments of the data as soon as possible so as not to undermine consumer confidence in the protective value and safety of sunscreen products.


Schumer added, “Millions of Americans use sunscreen to keep themselves and their families protected from the dangers of too much sun. If the product they are using is doing more harm than good, they have a right to know.”

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