In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established
new sunscreen labeling to remove some of the industry’s most unsubstantiated marketing
claims. While controversy surrounds some aspects of the new labeling policies,
many experts concur that they should protect the public better than the
former system. The information below discusses the changes.
Broad Spectrum: The past decade of research shows sunscreens should guard against both
ultraviolet B radiation and ultraviolet A radiation. Under the new guidelines,
products that meet these criteria will have the denotation of “Broad
Spectrum” on the front. Products that don’t provide this protection
and that have SPF values less than 15 must have a warning that sun exposure
can lead to aging and skin cancer. Some experts like the Environmental
Working Group contend that
little scientific evidence suggests sunscreens lower cancer risk.
Limit on Maximum SPF Value: Consumers mistakenly assume sunscreens with very high SPF values will prevent
skin damage. As a consequence, the use of such products can lead to their
spending too much time in the sun. Therefore, the FDA proposed a regulation
that would cap the maximum SPF value at 50+.
Waterproof and Sweatproof: The FDA no longer permits claims of waterproof or sweatproof. Instead,
water resistance labeling must specify how much time a person can expect
to receive the declared SPF protection. Standardized testing must support
Sunscreen Sprays: Due to concerns that sunscreen sprays present an inhalation risk, the FDA
will ban sprays unless manufacturers submit data on their safety and effectiveness.
Until the companies comply with the data request, the EWG advises consumers
to avoid these products.
For more information, see
Summer Safety: Effective Sunscreen.
Contact our Washington DC personal injury attorneys for insight into your recent
accident or experience with a defective product to determine whether you
might be entitled to compensation.