Coming up next summer: Better sunscreen.
President Obama quietly signed the bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act into law on Nov. 29. The legislation is meant to clear the backlog of sunscreen ingredients pending U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action—some for over a decade.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S., which is why members of Congress and the House Appropriations Committee have chastised the FDA for taking so long on sunscreen ingredients, especially ingredients already widely used in Europe and Asia.
The last approval for widespread use of a sunscreen ingredient was in 1990. But since 2002, there have been eight ingredients submitted to the FDA that are still awaiting the agency's review. Many of these ingredients haven't received any FDA attention for years, not even negative feedback. The new law will force the FDA to make timely decisions on each of the pending ingredients within a specific timeframe. Some decisions are expected to be made within six months. New ingredients added since the law is enacted must be responded to within a year.
Several of the pending ingredients provide better protection for UVA rays. Hopefully by this coming summer, sunscreens may be even more up to date.