FDA Sunscreen Rating Proposal Hits Snag

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Consumers may notice a new rating system on their sunscreen this year.

Last summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a four-star rating system for sunscreens and suntan lotions.

Although some sunscreen makers have decided to voluntarily start using the rating system this summer, it will be at least another year before the sunscreens will be required to carry the rating system, according to a report from FOX 12 Oregon.

The problem with the traditional SPF rating system is that it is based on protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburns. Under the new system, the FDA would require sunscreen makers to rate protection against both UVB and UVA rays, the type that cause suntans. Both kinds of rays cause skin damage and skin cancer.

In addition to the rating system, the FDA proposal would require sunscreen makers to perform two tests on its products.

"To get a four rating, you'd have to demonstrate that your product warrants it on human skin tests and in lab tests with a sun simulator," FDA spokeswoman Rita Chappelle told FOX 12. "The lower rating from two tests would be the star rating. We want to make sure the consumer is getting the minimum appropriate rating. To allow a marketer to say, 'Our product is four stars,' you'd have to have demonstrated that."

Plans to make the rating system a requirement are on hold while the FDA reviews the more than 20,000 comments it received last year on the proposal, according to the report.

Click here for more on this story from FOX 12 Oregon.