Jun 14th, 2011 - Health News
WASHINGTON – Help is on the way to consumers confused by the jumble of sun protection numbers and other claims on sunscreens. Under new rules published Tuesday, sunscreens will have to prove they filter out both ultraviolet B rays and ultraviolet A rays to claim they protect against skin cancer.
Starting next summer, if they don't protect against both, or the sun protection factor is below 15, then they have to carry a warning: "This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging."
The guidelines, which spent more than 30 years in bureaucratic limbo, are designed to enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens and make them easier to use.
The key takeaway for consumers: Look for a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 15 and above that also says "broad spectrum." That's the new buzzword from the Food and Drug Administration to describe a product that does an acceptable job blocking both types of damaging rays.
"These changes to sunscreen labels are an important part of helping consumers have the information they need so they can choose the right sun protection for themselves and their families," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of FDA's drug division.
The new regulations require that sunscreens be tested for the ability to block the more dangerous ultraviolet A rays, which can penetrate glass and pose the greatest risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Now, the FDA only requires testing for ultraviolet B rays that cause sunburn. That's what the familiar SPF measure is based on.
"For the first time, the FDA has clearly defined the testing required to make a broad-spectrum protection claim in a sunscreen and indicate which type of sunscreen can reduce skin cancer risk," said Dr. Ronald L. Moy, president of The American Academy of Dermatology Association.
Under the new rules:
• The FDA will prohibit sunscreen marketing claims like "waterproof" and "sweatproof," which the agency said "are exaggerations of performance."
• The FDA also proposes capping the highest SPF value at 50, unless companies can provide results of further testing that support a higher number.
• FDA says manufacturers must phase out a four-star system currently used by some companies to rate UVA protection.
In reviewing more than 3,000 comments submitted to the agency, the FDA decided the star system was too confusing. Instead, protection against UVA should be proportional to protection against UVB, which is already measured using SPF.
There is a popular misconception that SPF relates to time of solar exposure. Many consumers believe that if they normally get sunburn in one hour, then an SPF 15 sunscreen allows them to stay in the sun for 15 hours without burning. This is not true because SPF is not directly related to length of sun exposure.
The rules were decades in the making.
FDA announced its intent to draft sunscreen rules in 1978 and published them in 1999. The agency then put the plan on indefinite hold until it could address issues concerning both UVA and UVB protection.
Several companies have already adopted the some of the language. For example, all Coppertone products from Merck & Co.'s Schering-Plough unit and Neutrogena Sunblock from Johnson & Johnson already boast "broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection."
Most dermatologists recommend a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every two hours while outside.
Last year an estimated 68,130 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — and an estimated 8,700 died, according to the National Cancer Institute. Nearly $2 billion is spent treating the disease each year.
May 24th, 2013 - Local News
— Calvin College is cutting 22 faculty and staff positions as the Christian liberal arts school looks to cut long-term expenses and its 2013-14 budget.
The staffing reductions were done through lay...
May 23rd, 2013 - Local News
— Officials say 32 new charter schools plan to open this fall in Michigan.
The Detroit News and The Flint Journal report many of the schools will be in urban areas where charter schools are alrea...
May 24th, 2013 - State News
— Michigan's public schools would get about 3 percent more and it's community colleges and universities about 2 percent more in overall funding next fiscal year under measures nearing final approval...
May 23rd, 2013 - State News
— A Michigan lawmaker wants to create a new state office with the goal of helping small businesses get started and thrive.
Democratic Rep. Collene Lamonte of Montague introduced a bill this week ...
May 24th, 2013 - National News
— The Washington State Patrol chief says the Interstate 5 bridge collapse into the Skagit (SKA'-jiht) River at Mount Vernon was caused by an oversize truck.
Chief John Batiste told an overnight ...
May 23rd, 2013 - National News
— The first of the funerals is scheduled today following the deadly tornado in Moore, Okla.
It will be for 9-year-old Antonia Candelaria, one of seven children who died at a destroyed elementary...
May 24th, 2013 - International News
— Russia's foreign ministry says the Syrian government has agreed to a conference on the country's future proposed by Russia and the United States.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevic...
May 23rd, 2013 - International News
— The British government's emergency committee has met today after yesterday's attack by two men near London's military barracks.
An active duty British soldier was killed. One of the attackers ...
May 24th, 2013 - Sports News
— Jakub Kindl scored on a power play in the second period, Daniel Cleary had an empty-net goal and Jimmy Howard made 27 saves to help the Detroit Red Wings hold on for a 2-0 victory over the Chicago...
May 23rd, 2013 - Sports News
— Justin Verlander overcame a rocky start and rain delay to get his fifth win and Miguel Cabrera hit another homer as the Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 11-7 on Wednesday night, sweeping ...
Apr 30th, 2013 - Health News
— Looking for a new way to get that jolt of caffeine energy? Food companies are betting snacks like potato chips, jelly beans and gum with a caffeinated kick could be just the answer.
The Food an...
Apr 1st, 2013 - Health News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved a first-of-a-kind diabetes drug from Johnson & Johnson that uses a new method to lower blood sugar.
The agency cleared J&J'...