Panel criticizes FDA over sunscreen regulation

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

A panel including Congressman Nita Lowey and Ciba Corporation has called on the FDA to speed up approval of UV filters and tighten up regulations on sunscreens.

In a panel discussion organized by Citizens for Sun Protection, Republican Nita Lowey accused the FDA of failing to approve highly effective sunscreen ingredients that she claimed were available in every other country except the US.

One ingredient currently under consideration before the FDA is Ciba Tinosorb, which is described by the company as a ‘photostable, broad spectrum UV filter that provides protection against UV rays’.

Speed of approval for UV filters

A petition sent to the FDA and signed by all the panelists drew particular attention to the need for filters that provide excellent protection against UVA rays and appealed to the regulator to act immediately to approve such ingredients.

Catherine Ehrenberger, president of Home & Personal Care at Ciba said: “It is an incredible disservice to the American population that ingredients to improve sunscreens exist yet remain unavailable in the U.S. market.

“The FDA must address this critical health issue and expedite the approval of new sunscreen filters before another summer passes.”

Regarding UVA protection, the panel also said that despite amending the OTC Sunscreen Drug Monograph in August 2007, the FDA has not taken action since to finalize the updated standards.

Call for tighter regulations

The panel criticized the US sunscreen standards in general and urged the FDA to set strong standards that require protection from both UVB and UVA rays and transparent labeling.

“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 Nita Lowey.

Supporting the call for protection requirements that meet or exceed those in Europe, the panel cited the rise in skin cancer rates in the US in recent years.

Lowey added: “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.”

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