FDA Pushed to Tackle ‘Backlog’ of Sunscreens Made Abroad

By ABC News

Mar 21, 2014 7:00pm

When it comes to sunbathing, a beach day in Rio de Janeiro is not quite like one in California, especially when it comes to protecting the skin from the sun.

While there are plenty of sunscreens for sale in the US, experts say sunbathers in Europe and parts of Latin America have access to at least seven more UV filters when selecting skin protectants.

Related: 15 sunscreen questions answered.

“Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t always accept research in studies done abroad and they often require the manufacturers to redemonstrate the use and efficacy of their products that are available in the US so [there] tends to be more of a backlog,” said dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra of Santa Monica, Calif.

Dermatologists now have joined forces with sunblock manufacturers to push the Food and Drug Administration to approve a backlog of stronger sunscreens that last longer and feel better on the skin.

The FDA hasn’t approved a new sunscreen in 15 years. In 2006, the agency approved the breakthrough chemical Mexoryl but only for sale by one company — even though Europeans had been using it since 1993.

The FDA told ABC News it remained “committed to allowing sunscreens containing additional ingredients available to consumers if there is enough data to show that they are generally recognized as safe and effective.”

The agency plans to hold public hearings soon for ideas on speeding up the process.

ABC News’ Ryan Owens and Diane Mendez contributed to this story.

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