Lifestyle & Belief

FDA extends deadline for correcting misleading sunscreen labels


Rick Johnson applies sunscreen during a visit to the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 20, 2006.


Joe Raedle

The US Food and Drug Admin. has extended the deadline for sunscreen manufacturers to improve the labels on their products, the Associated Press reported.

Last summer, the FDA ordered sunscreen companies to change their labels to avoid misleading customers about how much skin cancer protection their products provide, according to the AP. Companies were orginally given until June 18, 2012, to make changes. Now the FDA’s new labeling requirements won’t go into effect for most companies until mid-December, and smaller companies have until December 2013 to redo their labels.

"We asked for the additional time" because changing labels on thousands of products "is a huge undertaking," Farah Ahmed, chairperson of the sunscreen task force at the Personal Care Products Council, told USA Today.

The FDA agreed to the deadline extension because it feared summer sunscreen shortages if manufacturers were forced to hold back products whose labels didn’t meet the new requirements by June, USA Today reported.

Among the changes the companies must make: Sunscreens can no longer claim to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof,” according to the AP, because all lotions rub off. And sunscreens that don’t protect against both sunburn-causing ultraviolet B rays and skin-cancer-linked ultraviolet A rays must carry a warning label.

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Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, told USA Today that the delay is “incredibly frustrating.”

"Consumers need clear information about the limitations of sunscreen and can't wait another season for these improvements to reach store shelves,” she said.

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