FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg’s Statement on the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer

Over the last few years, the FDA has taken a number of important steps designed to help consumers better understand the harmful effects of exposure from the sun and from indoor tanning.

 Today, consumers going to a beach or pool can rely on more accurate information on the labels of all sunscreen products on the market.  In 2011, the FDA made changes that help consumers buy and use sunscreen.  Consumers now see accurate labels that may include “Broad Spectrum” claims and water resistance claims (how long a sunscreen remains effective while swimming or sweating).

 Earlier this year, the agency changed its risk classification for sunlamp products (e.g., tanning beds, tanning booths), imposing increased regulatory controls on these products.  The products now must be labeled with boxed warnings stating that they should not be used on anyone younger than 18 years, and specific contraindications and warnings must be included in certain promotional materials for these products.

These were important actions and steps that the FDA hopes will help address the harmful effects of the sun and UV radiation exposure.

  • Spending time in the sun increases a person’s risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.  To reduce these risks, the FDA encourages consumers to take an active role in sun safety and understand how to responsibly spend time in the sun.  Consumers should use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher in combination with other protective measures.
  • There are risks associated with sunlamp product use.

The FDA, an Agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.  The Agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

REFERENCE:  FDA Press Release; 29 JUL 2014

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