Debate continues over AAD's seal for sunscreen products

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sunscreen, Ultraviolet, Money

The American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) Seal of Recognition
program for sunscreen products continues to attract disapproval
from its critics who claim it suffers from a conflict of interests.

The program was conceived to educate consumers regarding the dangers of sun exposure and involves the AAD's logo being awarded to sun protective products that comply with strict academy regulations. However, the program has attracted a certain amount of controversy as participation in the program and a chance to receive the seal is not cheap. When applying for the seal, manufacturers are obliged to pay $5,000 for the application, $10,000 on approval of the application and a further $10,000 a year later. These funds, according to the AAD, go to the administration of the program and the running of a skin cancer public education campaign. Last month the AAD held a special meeting to discuss the criticisms, the results of which are to be reviewed by the directors at their April meeting, according to the March edition of Skin and Allergy News. Seal of Recognition - conflict of interests? ​ At the AAD's annual meeting a member of the academy Dr Ackerman presented a petition signed by 80 members opposed to the program leading to a meeting to discuss the program, reports Skin and Allergy News. The signing members disagreed with the academy lending its name and logo to products for monetary reward. "The Academy has conflicts of interest because it takes money from manufacturers of sunscreens in exchange for the Seal of Recognition - and then it promotes the sunscreens,"​ Dr Ackerman said in an interview. Dr Ackerman is not alone in his criticisms. Dr Lombardo, another member of the academy, said in an interview with the Dermatology Times: "I am very much against it. I think it has no value whatsoever. If you decide not to pay the fee, then you do not get the Seal of Recognition. So the whole matter is the fee. I think that if the academy needs money, this is not the way to do it. They should raise dues." ​ Although a number of the academy's members are suspicious of the program, according to the AAD 86 per cent of their members believe it will help consumers make better informed decisions when purchasing sunscreen products. The Seal of Recognition Program will raise funds for the AAD's SPRINT plan (Skin Cancer Reduction: Intervention Plan for Tomorrow). The public health campaign will involve TV, print and radio advertising campaigns, websites attempting to educate the consumer on skin cancer, and the continuation of an established national cancer screening program.

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