Sunscreen makers can say almost anything they want about their product’s sun protection factor or water fighting ability because the FDA’s sunscreen regulations are a just a teensy bit late. Well, they’re actually thirty-two years late, but the FDA swears that they’re going to publish final regulations by October. Except maybe not. So what can consumers do in the meantime?
Avoiding the sun by staying inside is always the best way to stay safe. If you must go out, you social sun-lover you, then use common sense. Reapply sunscreen every few hours, including after you get out of the water. Don’t believe claims of “all day protection” or “SPF 50+,” which the FDA calls “inherently misleading.”
As for our sunscreen regulations, the FDA started drafting them in 1978 and finally issued draft rules back in 2007. Then they panicked after receiving 3,000 public comments instead of the usual 100.
[Shelly Burgess, an FDA spokeswoman] said in an e-mail, “Some of these submissions included new data which require scientific evaluation. Therefore, developing the sunscreen final rule has required more FDA resources than . . . anticipated.”
The new rules would go into effect the year after the FDA finds itself a printer and finally issues the regulations once and for all.
After more than 30 years, FDA has yet to issue final regulations for sunscreens [The Washington Post]