Sunscreen: Better in Europe?

Public health advocates are cheering congressional efforts to speed up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval process of new sunscreen ingredients that they say could prevent skin cancer and save lives.

The Sunscreen Innovation Act, a bipartisan bill introduced last week in both the House and Senate, would provide a "predictable and reasonable timeframe" for the review of the sunscreen products, some of which have waited more than a decade for approval, lawmakers say.

Health experts say people should have access to the most recent sunscreen advancements so that they can protect themselves from melanoma. 

"Melanoma must be prevented wherever possible," said Wendy Selig, president and CEO of the Melanoma Research Alliance, during a press call Thursday. 

"Unlike other deadly cancers, we do have the ability, in many cases, to reduce the risk, prevent melanoma, and save people before this cancer spreads," she added.

Skin cancer has become the most common form of cancer in the United States, with 3.5 million new cases diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

But lawmakers believe advancements in sunscreen technology could help prevent many cases of skin cancer — if they ever make it to market.

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Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition Applauds Introduction of the Sunscreen Innovation Act

Reed-Isakson-Whitfield-Dingell Legislation Would Speed Up FDA Approval of Critical Sunscreen Ingredients,
Providing Americans with Greater Choices in Sunscreen Protection

(Washington, DC) --The Public Access to SunScreen (PASS) Coalition applauds Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Congressmen Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and John Dingell (D-MI) for their leadership in introducing the bipartisan, bicameral Sunscreen Innovation Act. This legislation is a responsible way to alleviate the current 12 year backlog of sunscreen ingredients, and streamline the review process so the public can gain access to the most effective and innovative sunscreen products.

The last Over-The-Counter, (OTC) sunscreen ingredient to be approved was in the 1990s. Since that time, eight new sunscreen applications have been filed and are still awaiting review. New sunscreen technologies currently awaiting approval in the U.S. have been widely available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, in some cases for more than 15 years.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, it can be prevented through regular and appropriate use of sunscreens. This much needed and long overdue legislation is a key step for the approval of critical and innovative ingredients to be used in future sunscreens. The FDA has approved several new drugs for the treatment of melanoma in the recent years, and these drugs have made a profound impact on the lives of many patients with advanced disease. Now, it is time for the FDA to focus on prevention of skin cancers and approve the sunscreen ingredients that can better protect the public from harmful ultraviolet rays.

In the U.S., one person dies every hour from melanoma and the numbers of skin cancer cases has risen dramatically. As we continue to educate the public about ways to reduce their risk for this deadly disease, it is imperative for Americans to have access to the most innovative and effective sunscreen products available.

The creation of a predictable, transparent and timely review process for sunscreen ingredients addresses a growing public concern, and opens the door for further innovation. The PASS Coalition strongly encourages swift legislative action in both the House and the Senate to see the Sunscreen Innovation Act become law.

The PASS Coalition is a multi-stakeholder coalition of public health organizations, dermatologists, sunscreen ingredient companies, and concerned citizens who will work collaboratively with the FDA, the White House and Congress to establish a timely and transparent framework for approval of the next generation of UV active filters for OTC sunscreens.

The current membership of the PASS Coalition includes: the Melanoma Research Alliance, the Melanoma Research Foundation, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, The Skin Cancer Foundation, the Sun Safe Tee Program, Dr. Harry Fallick, Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Dr. Henry Lim, Dr. Warwick Morison, Dr. Nadim Shaath, Dr. Steven Wang, Ashland Inc., BASF Corporation, Beiersdorf, DeWolf Chemical, Inc, Fitz Chem Corporation, L'Oréal USA Products, Inc, McCullough & Associates, Procter & Gamble and the Suncare Research Laboratories, A.I.G. Technologies, Product Quest LLC, ROSS Organic, Autumn Harp, Raffaelo, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic-Energizer Holding Company Brands.

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Public Access to SunScreens Coalition Supports Food and Drug Administration's New Public Meeting on Over-The-Counter Drug Review, But Urges Congress to Act Now on Approval Process Reform

FDA's Efforts Necessary for Revising the OTC Monograph System, But Don't Address Urgent Need to Allow Latest, Innovative Sunscreen Ingredients to American Consumers

(Washington, DC) --The Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition today expressed prudent support for the Food and Drug Administration's newly scheduled March public meeting to obtain input on the Over-The-Counter, (OTC) Monograph Drug Review. However the coalition was quick to point out that while these efforts are necessary for revising the OTC monograph system in general, the FDA needs to do more to address the urgent public health need so that the American consumer has access to the latest, innovative sunscreen ingredients.

PASS notes that at a time when cases of skin cancer have reached epidemic levels in the U.S., outnumbering the occurrence of all other cancers, and one American dies every hour from melanoma, it is imperative for Americans to have access to the latest safe and effective sunscreen products available. Yet this is the second time in five years that the FDA has held public meetings regarding the OTC monograph process relevant to sunscreen approvals, without approving any of eight pending sunscreen applications, some of which have been backlogged for over 10 years.

The persistent delays in sunscreen approvals have caught the attention of Congress and bipartisan legislation will be introduced to reform the sunscreen application process in the very near future. This legislation will ensure that Americans have access to the latest safe and effective sunscreen ingredients in a timely fashion.

PASS strongly urges the FDA to work with Congress to clear the 10-year backlog in sunscreen applications and reform the review and approval process to help provide Americans with the tools they need to combat the sun's harmful UV rays and rising skin cancer rates. Sunscreen technology currently awaiting approval before the FDA has been widely available in Europe, Asia, Central and South America, in some cases for over 15 years.

The PASS Coalition is a multi-stakeholder coalition of public health organizations, dermatologists, sunscreen ingredient companies, and concerned citizens who will work collaboratively with the FDA, the White House and Congress to establish a timely and transparent framework for approval of the next generation of UV active filters for Over-the-Counter (OTC) sunscreens.

The current membership of the PASS Coalition includes: the Melanoma Research Alliance, the Melanoma Research Foundation, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, The Skin Cancer Foundation, the Sun Safe Tee Program, Dr. Harry Fallick, Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Dr. Henry Lim, Dr. Warwick Morison, Dr. Nadim Shaath, Dr. Steven Wang, Ashland Inc., BASF Corp., Beiersdorf, DeWolf Chemical, Inc, Fitz Chem Corporation, L'Oréal USA Products, Inc, McCullough & Associates, Procter & Gamble and the Suncare Research Laboratories, A.I.G. Technologies, Product Quest LLC, Ross Organic, Raffaelo.

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Better sunscreen needed to protect against all-day rays

Most sunscreens don’t have the necessary ingredients to protect against the process that causes skin to look old and wrinkled prematurely.

New research shows that even low levels of exposure to a common component of sunlight—ultraviolet A1, or UVA1—can cause damage at the molecular level after just a few short days.

UVA1 light makes up most of the natural UV light we are exposed to throughout the day, as well as the light from tanning beds.

Researchers hope that the findings will lead to new protective ingredients in sunscreens and more caution about routine sun exposure.

For the study, published in JAMA Dermatology, researchers measured the effects of UVA1 at the molecular level using advanced gene expression analysis of skin samples from human volunteers.

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