New York state mulls expiration dates for sunscreens

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

New York assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and state senator Charles
Fuschillo are co-sponsoring a bill that is aimed at introducing
expiration dates on sun care products.

The bill is currently being considered by the senate house, but is expected to be passed before going to Governor Eliot Spitzer for final approval. If this happens, the bill should come into force in New York state in January 2008, making it the first state in the United States to carry such a law. Currently the FDA has no rules governing the expiry dates of any type of personal care labels, and neither does it outline the need for appropriate storage instructions for sun care products. In the EU it is mandatory that all sun care products carry labeling that specifies sell-by date as well as instructions on storage - usually in a dry cool place out of direct sunlight. In fact, last year, the EU introduced new even stricter regulations outlining that sunscreen products should not use the term 'sunblocker' and that they clearly specify the degree of UVA protection contained in the product. The move by the New York politicians aims to bring the state's regulation more closely in line with other stricter international labeling regulation, namely those found in the EU. It will also put pressure on the FDA to consider stricter State-wide regulation of sun care product labeling, which a number of lobby groups believe are too lenient. In May of last year cosmetics industry bodies in Europe, the USA, Japan and South Africa signed an agreement to unify sunscreen product testing - a move that took the industry one step closer to having internationally recognized sunscreen labelling codes. The move aimed to appease consumers, who are faced with the challenge of determining which sun care product is best for them - a problem that is exacerbated when travelling to other countries, where labeling codes for Sun Protection Factors (SPFs) have varied according to testing requirements. The new approach also helps sunscreen manufacturers wishing to market products internationally. This is because the move allows manufacturers to develop products for all markets from one research and development centre, using just one test.

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