Thursday, July 28, 2011

FDA Warns Against Spray Sunscreens

A Public Service Announcement from the FDA is below. I have moved exclusively to spray sunscreens and my kids use them too, so this was an interesting find. The Food and Drug Administration says:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps to help protect consumers from skin damage caused by excessive sun exposure.
The new measures include the following:
  • final regulations that establish standards for testing the effectiveness of sunscreen products and require labeling that accurately reflects test results
  • a proposed regulation that would limit the maximum SPF value on sunscreen labeling to “SPF 50+”
  • a data request for safety and effectiveness information for sunscreen products formulated in certain dosage forms (e.g., sprays)
  • a draft guidance for sunscreen manufacturers on how to test and label their products in light of these new measures.
Then Consumer Reports says:
The Food and Drug Administration announced last month that it was investigating the potential risks of spray sunscreens. Of particular concern to us is the possibility that people might accidentally breathe in the ingredients, a risk that’s greatest in children, who—as any parent knows—are more likely to squirm around when they’re being sprayed.

As a result, we now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children. We have also removed one sunscreen spray—Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50—from the group of recommended sunscreens in our Ratings, because it is marketed especially for children.

Finally, we would like to reemphasize our longstanding advice that you use sprays carefully, by following these tips:

• Don’t use sprays on children, unless you have no other product available. In that case, spray the sunscreen onto your hands and rub it on. As with all sunscreens, be especially careful on the face, taking care to avoid the eyes and mouth.

• Adults can still use sprays—but don’t spray your face! Instead, spray on your hands and rub it on, making sure to avoid your eyes and mouth. And try to avoid inhaling it.

• Make sure you apply enough. Our tests have found that sprays can work well when used properly—but it is harder to make sure that you apply enough, especially when it’s windy. We recommend spraying as much as can be evenly applied, and then repeating, just to be safe. On windy days, you might want to spray the sunscreen on your hands and rub it on—or just choose one of our recommended lotions instead.

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