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The FDA has announced that they have proposed new rules for sunscreen. The agency now wants sunscreens to have a label that says if the product has UVA protection as well as UVB protection. For the past 30 years sunscreen manufacturers have only been required to list the UVB protection on the bottles, but UVA rays can also damage skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.

The agency has proposed a new rating system that would rate UVA protection from one star (being the lowest protection) to four stars (the highest protection). Also, the FDA is requiring sunscreens that do not meet a one star rating to have a label that states the sunblock has “no UVA protection”.

In addition, a “Warnings” statement in the “Drug Facts” box will be required of all sunscreen product manufacturers. The warning will say: “UV exposure from the sun increases the risk of skin cancer, premature skin aging, and other skin damage. It is important to decrease UV exposure by limiting time in the sun, wearing protective clothing, and using a sunscreen.” The warning is intended to increase awareness that sunscreens are only one part of a sun protection program.

“Many consumers incorrectly believe that the only way to protect themselves from skin damage caused by the sun is to apply sunscreens. The labeling being proposed today strengthens the existing labeling for sunscreens by educating consumers on the added importance of limiting their time in the sun and wearing protective clothing as part of a sun protection regimen.” said Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., deputy director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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