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Panel Urges FDA to Revise Sunscreen Standards

Posted: December 4, 2008

Recently keynote speaker Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York joined with experts from New York Presbyterian Hospital; the Skin Cancer Foundation; 2006 Miss Maryland, a skin cancer survivor; Fallene LTD; and Ciba Corporation to call on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the dramatic rise in skin cancer rates in the United States. The panel was organized by Citizens for Sun Protection (CFSP), a coalition of national, state, and local organizations and individuals advocating for U.S. sunscreen standards that meet or exceed the sunburn and skin cancer protection requirements available in Europe.

As much of the country moves into the colder, winter months, the panel sought to turn up the heat on a health care crisis that requires immediate action before another summer passes. Panelists called upon the FDA to set a strong sunscreen standard requiring protection from both UVB and UVA rays, with transparent labeling, and approve photostable, broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredients to defend against both UVB and UVA rays.

“The FDA continues to delay action on implementing sunscreen standards which would provide more effective and informative labeling, an important line of defense against the damaging rays of the sun,” said Representative Lowey. “The American public is under-protected and operating with a false sense of security in the face of the life-threatening dangers of sun exposure. I stand in full support of initiatives that would reduce the occurrence of skin cancer.”

In her remarks, Rep. Lowey expressed deep concern with the FDA's delayed action to provide Americans with more complete and informative sunscreen standards and labeling, and their failure to approve highly effective sunscreen ingredients available in every other country except the United States. The New York Congresswoman sought to focus the FDA’s attention on rising skin cancer rates which many public health experts point to as a growing health care crisis, particularly in young women.

“People need to take better precautions when spending time outdoors and the U.S. government needs to be supportive of standards and ingredients that could further protect Americans from all the sun’s rays—UVB and UVA alike,” said melanoma survivor and 2006 Miss Maryland Brittany Lietz. “Speaking from experience, we are not as protected as we think we are.”