FDA Buckles Under Industry Pressure, Delays New Sunscreen Labeling Rules for 6 Months

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Why the New Regulations Are Being Pushed Back

Both the Personal Care Products Council and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association told the FDA that they needed more time in order to become compliant with the new regulations. Of course the FDA sided with these trade groups (not a shock), deciding that companies should be allowed more time. The FDA moved the regulation release date to December 17, 2012 for most companies. Smaller companies have until December 2013 to become compliant. This is obnoxious considering that EWG estimates that 90% of beach and sport sunscreens on the market are already in compliance with the FDA’s new rules. Shelly Burgess, an FDA spokeswoman says the regulations are being pushed back because, “We’re thinking proactively here… we don’t want [companies] to cease making sunscreens available this summer because they don’t think they’ll be able to meet the compliance date.” What the FDA should do is mandate the new rules as they said they would and simply shut down companies who haven’t met compliance. Environmental Working Group senior analyst Sonya Lunder notes, “We are baffled that FDA deems it necessary to delay such weak regulations. The agency has caved to industry pressure every step of the way. Consumers continue to be confused by these overblown claims. They can’t wait another season for these improvements to reach store shelves.

Due to these current FDA actions, on May 15, 2012, EWG submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the FDA seeking records concerning the agency’s decision to delay its final sunscreen rule and to learn more about how it developed that rule. EWG points out that consumers have waited more than three decades for the federal government to assure the safety and efficiency of sunscreen products, which is far too long. EWG’s goal is to find out, “If the FDA is looking out for public health or is beholden to the industry.I’m guessing industry – but maybe that’s just me.

Lead Image by Flickr User earthlydelights

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