The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act (S. 2141) on Sept. 17, 2014, which the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition applauded. This passage follows the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee's approval of the bill earlier in the day.
According to PASS, the last over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen ingredient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was in the 1990s and since 2002, eight new sunscreen applications have been filed—and are still awaiting review, 12 years later. These technologies have been widely available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, in some cases for more than 15 years.
Over the past 40 years, melanoma rates have risen 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men. The bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act (H.R. 4250/S. 2141) would streamline the approval process for new sunscreen ingredients to ensure they receive a transparent review within a predictable timeframe, in turn ensuring the American public gains access to the latest safe, effective and innovative sunscreen products to protect against the sun’s most harmful rays.
"Congress’ commitment to addressing the skin cancer epidemic in the United States was clearly demonstrated in tonight’s Senate passage of the Sunscreen Innovation Act," said Michael Werner, PASS Coalition Policy Advisor, in a press statement. “It's a great day for Americans. Now U.S. consumers will be able to get the latest in sunscreen technology that has been available to citizens of countries all over the world.”
Werner added, “Americans have gone more than a decade without the kinds of innovative sunscreen products citizens in other countries have enjoyed for years. Meanwhile, skin cancer has become a public health crisis that has lead U.S. Surgeon General to issue 'A Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer,' calling for the government and stakeholders to act immediately to address this deadly, but preventable disease."