FDA Delays Sunscreen Rules. Again.

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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest