A recently issued rule from the FDA would overhaul and expand the agency’s fight against the sun’s radiation. The proposed regulation would require sunscreen makers to test for effectiveness against UVA rays, which unlike UVB rays, do not burn the skin; UVA instead gives us an attractive bronze that can cause cancer.
The agency also plans to spruce up the existing sunburn protection factor (SPF) system by rating sunscreens on a one to four-star scale. Just in case consumers misunderstand the star scale and think fewer stars are better, the agency will also rate sunscreens as “low, medium, or high.” As a final resort, sunscreens will bear reminders that cowardice is the best protection against the sun; consumers will be encouraged to wear protective clothes and limit their exposure to the sun.
The proposed rule is subject to a 90 day comment period. If approved, sunscreens sporting the revised labels should appear on shelves in time for the summer of 2009.