It’s Up to the Senate to Save You From Sunburns

A woman applies sun cream on her body on the beach of Scheveningen, on July 21, 2010. About 250 sunbathers on a few square meters were appied sun cream at the same time on their body, to set a new Guiness Book Record. AFP PHOTO / ANP / KOEN SUYK netherlands out - belgium out (Photo credit should read KOEN SUYK/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
July 28, 2014, 2:23 p.m.

This could be the fi­nal sum­mer Amer­ic­ans have to en­dure in­feri­or and out­dated sun­screen.

In the fi­nal week of ses­sion be­fore Con­gress takes its sum­mer va­ca­tion, law­makers have come one step closer to pro­tect­ing Amer­ic­an con­sumers from the sun’s harm­ful rays.

For years, the United States has lagged be­hind oth­er coun­tries in sun­screen tech­no­logy be­cause of back­logs in ap­prov­al of new in­gredi­ents by the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion. While new sun­screen tech­no­lo­gies have been avail­able in Europe, Asia, and Cent­ral and South Amer­ica for up to 15 years, they re­main stalled await­ing any kind of de­cision in the U.S. The last time an over-the-counter sun­screen in­gredi­ent was ap­proved by the FDA was in the 1990s; there are eight in­gredi­ents cur­rently stuck in the sys­tem.

But law­makers have fi­nally had enough. The House passed a bill by voice vote Monday even­ing that would ex­ped­ite FDA re­view of new sun­screen in­gredi­ents by im­ple­ment­ing a timeline for re­view, and no longer re­quir­ing the agency to is­sue a reg­u­la­tion every time it wants to ap­prove an in­gredi­ent.

The Sun­screen In­nov­a­tion Act would re­quire fi­nal de­cisions on pending in­gredi­ent ap­plic­a­tions with­in one year, and de­cisions on new ap­plic­a­tions with­in one and a half.

The House vote came too late to help fair-skin­ner beach­go­ers this year, but sup­port­ers are cau­tiously op­tim­ist­ic it will be passed through both cham­bers by the end of the sum­mer.

The Sen­ate plans to take up the bill in Septem­ber.

Skin can­cer is the most com­mon form of can­cer in the U.S., with nearly 5 mil­lion people treated each year, at an an­nu­al cost of $8.1 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment. Most of these cases could be pre­ven­ted with bet­ter skin pro­tec­tion.

The House vote co­in­cides with the re­lease of the sur­geon gen­er­al’s “Call to Ac­tion to Pre­vent Skin Can­cer” on Tues­day, the first re­port of its kind, which will re­com­mend ways for in­di­vidu­als, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, and oth­ers to re­duce skin-can­cer cases and re­lated costs.

An FDA spokes­man has said the agency has “pri­or­it­ized re­view­ing the safety and ef­fect­ive­ness of ad­di­tion­al sun­screen in­gredi­ents as quickly as pos­sible giv­en the agency’s re­sources.”

The le­gis­la­tion was in­tro­duced by Reps. Ed Whit­field, R-Ky., and John Din­gell, D-Mich., in the House and Sens. Johnny Isak­son, R-Ga., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., in the Sen­ate.

If the bill be­comes law, most of the pending in­gredi­ent ap­plic­a­tions could be re­viewed with­in the next year.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Maher Weighs in on Bernie, Trump and Palin
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.

Source:
×