Pressure Building on FDA For More Rigorous Sunscreen Testing

Pressure Building on FDA For More Rigorous Sunscreen Testing

Pressure is building on the FDA to boost its efforts in regulating sunscreens after an investigation by Consumer Reports found that many sunscreens on the market today do not provide the level of sun protection listed on the bottle.

Independent test results conducted by the magazine found that many sunscreens don’t match the SPF that is indicated on the label. Consumer Reports said it sent its results to the FDA, and the agency is now asking for more information from them.

Of 60 sunscreens tested that claimed an SPF of 30 or higher, 28 of them actually had an SPF of less than 30.

However, the issue became more prominent this week after Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the FDA should conduct a “full-on investigation of deceptive SPF marketing” and cited the Consumer Reports investigation.

FDA regulations require sunscreen makers to test their products to confirm the SPF rating on the label, and if the label includes a broad-spectrum claim, test for that as well. However, manufacturers are not required to report those results or test before the product hits the market. In addition, the FDA does not confirm the results.

In essence, the sunscreen industry, as of now, is responsible for policing itself. Schumer wants to see that changed by having the FDA instead conduct the sunscreen testing.

He is also pushing the FDA to finalize sunscreen rules that were created based on the Sunscreen Innovation Act, which was passed in 2014. The rules would allow testing of more effective sunscreen ingredients that offers better protection against sunburn and skin cancer. These ingredients have been in sunscreens sold outside the US for more than 20 years.

For help in deciding which sunscreen is best for you, check out MedShadow’s recent feature on the topic.


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is an associate editor at BioCentury, which provides news and information about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining BioCentury in 2019, Jonathan worked for MedShadow as content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.


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