07.20.16

SCHUMER: NEW REPORT SHOWS NEARLY HALF OF ALL SUNSCREENS MAKE FALSE CLAIMS ABOUT SPF PROTECTION; SENATOR PUSHES FDA TO TEST SUNSCREENS, CONFIRM TRUE SPF NUMBERS & CRACKDOWN ON LABELS THAT PROMISE PROTECTION BUT INSTEAD LEAVE CONSUMERS BURNED

New Report Suggests 43% Of Sunscreens Fail To Meet the SPF Level of Protection Listed On The Bottle; Shocking Results Found Some Children’s Sunscreen Products Only Offered SPF 8 Even Though The Label Claimed SPF 50

 Manufacturers Are Required to Test Their Own Products for SPF Levels But Tests Are Rarely Confirmed Or Re-Tested by the FDA; SPF Discrepancies Require Feds To Step In & Ensure SPF Number Delivers The Protection Promised   

 Schumer: FDA Needs To Give Sunscreen Labels The Third Degree

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch an investigation into deceptive Sun Protection Factor (SPF) marketing, following a study released by Consumer Reports which suggests that 43 percent of sunscreen products fail to meet the SPF claim on the label.

“There is simply no doubt about it—some consumers are being totally burned when they buy sunscreen, which is why the FDA must give sunscreen labels the third degree,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “With beach season officially in full swing and with a New York City heat wave on the way, the FDA needs to make sure the SPF labels on sunscreen products match the SPF protection being offered.  In light of this new study that reveals nearly half of tested sunscreens are offering less protection than its label claims, the FDA should launch a full-on investigation into deceptive SPF marketing. Beachgoers and vacationers deserve the peace of mind to know that the sunscreen they’re using is offering legitimate protection against the sun’s harmful rays.”

 While the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher, the recently released study suggests that some consumers are not being offered the level of protection they believe they are using. For instance, of the sunscreen products test by Consumer Reports, at least two products with SPF 50 labels only offered an SPF 8 level of protection—far less protection than the AAD recommends. The FDA does not consistently test sunscreen products but rather requires manufacturers test their own products for SPF levels. Schumer today said that, in light of this report, the FDA should move forward with a full-on investigation into SPF claims on popular sunscreen products and crackdown on deceptive companies.

 According to a recently released Consumer Reports study, 28 out of 60 sunscreen lotions, sprays and sticks with SPF labels of 30 or higher actually offered less protection than what was listed on the bottle. Moreover, 3 of the tested products offered SPF levels of less than 15. For four years, Consumer Reports has tested SPF claims. Of products that were listed as SPF 30-39, 65 percent of chemical and mineral sunscreens tested higher than SPF 30. Of products that were listed as SPF 40-110, 70 percent of chemical and mineral sunscreens tested higher than SPF 30.

According to the FDA, SPF is a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin (i.e., in the presence of sunscreen) relative to the amount of solar energy required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. As the SPF value increases, sunburn protection increases. The FDA only requires manufacturers test its sunscreen products and does not require manufacturers to submit its results to the agency. According to the FDA, all sunscreens must be tested according to an SPF test procedure which measures the amount of UV radiation exposure it takes to cause sunburn when a person is using a sunscreen in comparison to how much UV exposure it takes to cause a sunburn when they do not use a sunscreen.

Schumer today said that proper SPF labeling is important because of the prevalence of skin cancer in this country. According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. According to the AAD, more than 8,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. On average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. The AAD recommends everyone to protect their skin from the sun by wearing protective clothing and using a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher.

The FDA first looked into the deceptive practices of sunscreen products over thirty years ago, but since that time, the rate of melanoma has doubled in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 76,380 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2016. Schumer has been pushing the FDA to tighten its standards on labeling for years, helping to get new standards in place in 2011.

Schumer is also urging the FDA to finalize sunscreen rules that were created based on the 2014 passed legislation, the Sunscreen Innovation Act.  Schumer said the FDA has been dragging its feet in their testing of ultra-effective sunscreen ingredients that better protects individuals from sunburn and skin cancer. The FDA has been reviewing some of these ingredients for over a decade, and the superior sunscreens are available in almost every other country in the world. Schumer said that the FDA plays an integral role in determining the safety of the chemicals sold in products in the United States and should continue its strong oversight.  However, products containing these chemicals have been sold overseas for more than two decades and FDA should finalize rules that allow for these ingredients and sunscreens to be tested in an expeditious and efficient way.  

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