Sunscreen Innovation Act Unanimously Passes Senate

(Washington, D.C.) — The Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition applauded the Senate on unanimous passage of the Sunscreen Innovation Act (S. 2141) this evening. Passage of this legislation comes on the heels of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s approval of the bill earlier in the day.

“Congress’ commitment to addressing the skin cancer epidemic in the United States was clearly demonstrated in tonight’s Senate passage of the Sunscreen Innovation Act,” said Michael Werner, PASS Coalition Policy Advisor. “It’s a great day for Americans. Now US consumers will be able to get the latest in sunscreen technology that has been available to citizens of countries all over the world.”

“We now call on the House and Senate to swiftly reconcile the differences in their bills and enact final legislation,” Werner said.

Tonight’s Senate passage follows the House of Representative’s passage of similar bipartisan legislation (H.R. 4250) passed by voice vote in July. The PASS Coalition praises Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Representative John Dingell (D-MI) for their persistent work on this issue.

“Americans have gone more than a decade without the kinds of innovative sunscreen products citizens in other countries have enjoyed for years. Meanwhile, skin cancer has become a public health crisis that has lead U.S. Surgeon General to issue A Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer calling for the government and stakeholders to act immediately to address this deadly, but preventable disease,” Werner concluded.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer — including melanoma — than the combined incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. On average, one person dies every hour from melanoma, the deadliest of the skin cancers because of its ability to move quickly and spread to distant organs in the body, and melanoma rates are rising dramatically across demographics. Over the past 40 years, melanoma rates have increased 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.

The bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act (H.R. 4250/S. 2141) would streamline the approval process for new sunscreen ingredients to ensure that new sunscreen ingredients receive a transparent review within a predictable timeframe. This would ensure the American public gains access to the latest safe, effective and innovative sunscreen products to protect against the sun’s most harmful rays.

The last over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen ingredient to be approved by FDA was in the 1990s. Since 2002, eight new sunscreen applications have been filed and are still awaiting review 12 years later. 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.

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