Shining light on sunscreen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weíre not crazy about additional government rules. Still, if sunscreen makers canít do the job themselves, sun worshippers will welcome federal plans for truth in labeling for lotions and sprays that are supposed to block the sunís harmful rays.
ěBroad spectrumî will be the new words to look for, indicating which products are found able to filter radiation that causes skin cancer and premature aging.
Otherwise, products will include labels advising that they only prevent sunburn.
When it comes to sun safety, it is easy for consumersí eyes to glaze over at the alphabet soup of SPF, UVA, UVB, etc.
Now product makers will have to explain what they mean by ěwaterproofî or ěsweatproof,î and the highest SPF (sun-protection factor) value will be 50, unless companies can provide results of testing that support a higher number.
The new rules have been nearly three decades in the making. With sunscreen products comprising a nearly $900 million-a-year industry, there are lots of vested interests.
We are more drawn to the number $2 billion, the amount estimated spent on treating skin cancer each year, according the National Cancer Institute.
Sunscreen standards will be a positive step as long as the screen of confusion is kept away ó and the public-education campaign by the private and public sector remains nonstop, over and over again, as sure as the sun rises and sets daily.
ó Scripps Howard News Service