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FDA delays implementing sunscreen rules

May 11, 2012 | 11:56 am

SunscreenThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it will delay the implementation of new sunscreen rules that had been scheduled to take effect in June. The rules are designed to give consumers better information about the effectiveness of over-the-counter sunscreens and will, for the first time, allow the bottles, tubes and sprays to say that sunscreens protect against skin cancer and early skin aging. The FDA says the rules will take effect in mid-December to allow the manufacturers of affected products to fully implement them.

The new rules, announced last June, are the result of more than 30 years of deliberation. The FDA had been considering new regulations since 1978 and released some proposals in 2007, but it subsequently concluded that the labeling system under consideration would cause too much consumer confusion.

The new rules going into effect Dec. 17 for large companies, and one year later for smaller manufacturers, ban claims such as "sweat-proof" and "waterproof" and prevent manufacturers from labeling products with unsubstantiated claims of instant or all-day protection.

"FDA just gave consumers 1,800 more reasons to turn to our sunscreen database," said Sonya Lunder, senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, which publishes an annual database focusing on the safety and efficacy of sunscreens. Its 2012 report will be issued Wednesday (May 16).

"We are baffled that FDA deems it necessary to delay such weak regulations," Lunder said in a statement released Friday. "The agency has caved to industry pressure every step of the way."


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-- Susan Carpenter

Photo credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times