FDA Delays Sunscreen Rules. Again.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/izzyplante/5389309312/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">izzyplante</a>/Flickr

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If you’ve been following the epic saga of the FDA’s long-awaited sunscreen regulations, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the agency has pushed back enforcement of its latest set of rules from this summer to mid-December of this year. The rules—you know, someday—will bar manufacturers from making outlandish claims on their labels (no more SPF 150). But that’s not all. Last year, MoJo‘s Jen Quraishi summarized the regulations in a blog post:

–all sunscreens must be SPF 15 or higher if they claim to prevent sunburn, early aging, and reduce skin cancer risk. Anything under SPF 15 could only be advertised to help prevent sunburn.

–all sunscreens must provide protection against both ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) and ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) in order to be labeled as “Broad Spectrum.”

–no more labels that market a sunscreen as either “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” The label “sunblock” is also disallowed.

–any product that claims water resistance must also tell consumers how much time they can expect to get SPF protection for while in the water.

–no product can claim to offer immediate protection after application unless they submit data to the FDA and get the FDA’s express approval

–sunscreens in the form of wipes, towelettes, powders, body washes, and shampoo cannot be marketed without approved application.

All of which would be a step in the right direction. But as Environmental Working Group pointed out, the new rules continue “to allow oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and several other ingredients in sunscreens despite scientists’ concerns about their toxicity.”

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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