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Tuesday
Jun142011

FDA Adds Stricter Labels to Sunscreen

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- New sunscreen labels will include a rating system to show how well the product protects users against Ultraviolet A (UVA) light, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The agency's latest regulation recommends that sunscreen labeling be expanded to provide a four-star rating system that informs consumers how well the product protects them against UVA light.

Sunscreen labels are already required to carry a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level that informs users how well the product protects against UVB light, which primarily causes sunburn.  Enhanced labeling will focus on UVA light, which is potentially more damaging because it penetrates the skin further than UVB and causes the skin to tan.

Both kinds of UV light contribute to skin damage, including premature skin aging and skin cancer.

The agency is also looking to change the maximum sunburn protection level from its recommended SPF 30 to SPF 50.

The new UVA star rating will be displayed next to the SPF ratings.  One star will mean low UVA protection, while four stars ensure the highest level of protection.

The label will also include ways that people can protect themselves from sun overexposure, such as limiting time in the sun and wearing protective clothing. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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