“While we’re making progress toward restoring the Earth’s ozone layer, Americans need to take steps now for extra protection from harmful UV rays and skin cancer,” said Janet McCabe, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Americans can stay safe under the sun and enjoy the outdoors by taking simple steps such as using sunscreen and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.”

“If current trends continue, one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime, and many of these skin cancers could be prevented by reducing UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning devices,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Of particular concern is the increase we are seeing in rates of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. In the United States, melanoma is one of the most common cancers among people ages 15 to 29 years.”

“Spending time in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer. Everyone can get sunburned and suffer harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation from time spent outdoors,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Consumers can protect themselves by choosing a sunscreen that is right for them, wearing protective clothing and limiting time in the sun.”

To make it easier for people to choose products that effectively reduce the health risks of UV overexposure, the FDA has issued new labeling rules for sunscreen products. These include:

• Sunscreens proven to protect against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can be labeled “Broad Spectrum.”  Both UVB and UVA radiation contribute to the sun’s damaging effects.

• Sunscreen products that meet the criteria for being called “Broad Spectrum” and have a Sunscreen Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher may state that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging when used as directed with other sun protection measures. 

• Any product that is not “Broad Spectrum,” or has an SPF below 15, must have a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging. 

• New water resistance claims on the front label must indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. 

Nations across the globe have made steady progress toward restoring the Earth’s protective ozone layer through the groundbreaking environmental treaty called the Montreal Protocol. Signed by 197 countries, including the U.S. government, the Protocol is successfully working to phase out ozone-depleting substances. Scientists predict that the ozone layer will recover later this century.

 According to the CDC, the states with the highest melanoma death rates include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and West Virginia. Americans are encouraged to learn more about skin cancer in their states at www2.epa.gov/sunwise/skin-cancer-facts-your-state.

 

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