Blumenthal revives pursuit for sunscreen rules

By Chris Rizo | Jul 29, 2008

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline)-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is calling on federal regulators to clamp down on what he says are "dangerously misleading claims" in sunscreen advertising and labeling.

In a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Democratic attorney general asked for the government to immediately implement rules against unfounded claims in sunscreen advertising.

The FDA, at the urging of Blumenthal, last year issued proposed rules to stop misleading claims by sunscreen manufacturers, but almost a year later, the agency has failed to implement these rule changes, the attorney general's office said.

The proposed rules would prohibit blanket sun protection promises.

SPF (sun protection factor) designations could not exceed "50+"; waterproof claims would still be barred; and additional instructions would be required to warn consumers to reapply sunscreen.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, the attorney general urged immediate implementation of the sunscreen rules, which would also require specific rating systems for UVB and UVA protection.

"For far too long sunscreen manufacturers have exploited the FDA's abject failure to enact regulations that ensure truthful, accurate claims in sunscreen advertising and labeling," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said the rules would help protect consumers.

"Today and every day this summer, countless children and their families will be exposed needlessly and dangerously to life-threatening rays, often with a false sense of security created by deceptive claims from sunscreen manufacturers. The FDA's inaction enables -- even encourages -- such false claims. Through inertia, the FDA becomes complicit, morally if not legally."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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