In June 2011, the FDA released new guidelines for sunscreen labels. These labels were to hit store shelves by June 2012, but have now been pushed back.
Last month the FDA announced that they were pushing back the FDA label implementation date until December 2012. Smaller companies with less than $25,000 in sales will have until June 2013 to update their labels. This means that your patients will have to spend another summer decoding confusing sunscreen labels.
U.S. Senators and other lawmakers expressed anger and frustration at the delay.
"The FDA took a major step backwards today and as a result, more consumers will likely get burned this summer," said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
These updated labels are meant to reduce consumer confusion about what kind of sun protection to buy. Labels with the phrase “Broad Spectrum” must block both UVA and UVB rays. Terms like sunblock, waterproof, and sweatproof will no longer be allowed, nor will unrealistic SPF levels, like SPF 100. Sunscreens with an SPF lower than 15 will have a warning that states: "This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging." New sunscreen labels must also show how often the sunscreen should be reapplied.
Sunscreen manufacturers and lobbyists for cosmetics and over-the-counter pharmaceutical industries said they needed more than one year to change the labels, and warned that there may be sunscreen shortages if the new labels were to go into effect next month.
[image by George Ruiz]