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House Passes Bill to Improve Sunscreen Product Review for First Time Since 1990s

Cancer Advocates Call on Senate to Pass Sunscreen Innovation Act

July 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 28, 2014 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act today paving the way for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review and approve new sunscreen ingredients for the first time in more than a decade.

Process-related challenges associated with the way ingredients are approved have made the efficient scientific review and approval of new sunscreen ingredients by the FDA difficult, and led to years without action on a number of ingredients submitted for approval. The Sunscreen Innovation Act (H.R. 4250), developed in cooperation with the FDA, is intended to modify the process of review and approval of sunscreen ingredients, adding more predictability to the process and removing some of the procedural obstacles.

“Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers – with more than three million cases diagnosed in the United States annually – yet, many skin cancers are preventable” said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “The House took a critical step today to fix a broken process at FDA for the review of new sunscreen ingredients that could potentially help more Americans prevent skin cancer.”

The new process does not change the requirement for rigorous scientific review prior to approval, just the framework in which that review occurs. Additionally, it only applies to sunscreens that have been marketed in other countries for at least five years. If signed into law, the review of most of the pending ingredient applications could be completed within the following year.

“Educating people about good sun safety behaviors is only half of the story,” said Hansen. “American consumers should have access to the broadest choice of sunscreens – including those in use for years in other countries – once they are shown to be safe and effective.”

The most important avoidable risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunscreens protect against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. American sunscreens on the market today are less effective at blocking UVA, which can penetrate the skin more deeply. Of the seven UVA-blocking ingredients sold in Europe, only three are approved for use in the U.S.

ACS CAN is urging the Senate to pass its companion bill as quickly as possible. In the Senate, the Sunscreen Innovation Act is sponsored by U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Lauren Walens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5711
Email: or

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ACS CAN is the nation's leading cancer advocacy organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority. More

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