FDA Pushed to Release Data on Sunscreen Chemical Cancer Link

More than one million Americans are diagnosed with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/diseases">skin cancer every year, all the result of damage caused by the sun’s rays. While most skin cancers can be treated effectively, a form of the disease called melanoma is much more aggressive and can lead to death.

Now, the protection against the sun’s rays—sunscreen—is coming under fire for its potential links to skin cancer due to an ingredient found in most sunscreen products, said Reuters. A United States Senator—Charles Schumer—is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to publicize its findings on the link between the chemical, sunscreen, and cancer, said Reuters.

Reuters said that the FDA has been looking at information from a variety of studies conducted on the link between retinyl palmitate (RP), an additive found in most sunscreens, and cases of skin cancer that go back to July 2009. The FDA has not issued a ruling or guideline, said Senator Schumer, according to Reuters.

Reuters explained that RP is a derivative of vitamin A.

“With the recent reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and a common chemical found in sunscreens, the FDA must act now to protect consumers,” Schumer said at a news conference and in a later statement, quoted Reuters. “Summer is here, people are soaking up the sun and the FDA needs to immediately provide guidance and reassurance to consumers,” Schumer (New York-Democrat) added.

The FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) conducted the studies that found potential links between skin cancer and RP, said Reuters. Schumer is asking the FDA to immediately reveal its findings, added Reuters, and is also urging the FDA to issue a time frame for its issuance of new sunscreen regulations.

One of the study’s found that tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent quicker in lab tests in which lab animals were coated in cream containing RP, versus animals treated with an RP-free cream, according to Schumer’s office, said Reuters.

Now, said WebMD, an environmental group again questioning the safety and efficacy of sunscreens containing RP. The group—the Environmental Working Group (EWG)—said, in its fourth annual Sunscreen Guide, that it had evaluated an astounding 500 sunscreens, only finding minimal eight percent to be “acceptable,” said WebMD.

EWG Senior Vice President for Research Jane Houlihan said that some of the most popular sunscreens are “the equivalent of modern-day snake oil,” adding that they don’t protect as well as they claim and could also be dangerous, quoted Reuters.

In addition, EWG warns specifically against higher-SPF sunscreen products, which Houlihan claims give a “false sense of security” and also warns against sunscreen products that have minimal or no protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, said WebMD.

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