US Government Agency Proposes New Regulations for Sun Protection Products

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. put forward (something) / pʊt ˈfoɚwɚd / (phrasal) – to offer an idea or to propose something

    The doctor put forward a motion for vote in the next board meeting.

  2. over-the-counter / ˈoʊvɚ ðəˈkaʊntɚ / (adj) – can be bought at stores without a doctor’s prescription

    I normally take over-the-counter medicine to treat common colds.

  3. entail / ɪnˈteɪl / (v) – to involve something as a necessary part of something else

    The project will entail children aged 2 to 13 to visit the doctor weekly.

  4. outdated / ˌaʊtˈdeɪtəd / (adj) – old and not useful or acceptable anymore

    The government issued new regulations on medical products because the old ones are outdated.

  5. scrutiny / ˈskruːtəni / (n) – a critical examination or observation of someone or something

    The Department of Health is under scrutiny for giving out misleading information about lotions.


Read the text below.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put forward a proposal for new regulations on over-the-counter sun protection products.

Recently, the FDA announced that it hopes to further ensure the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens. The organization wants to review the current ingredients used in sunscreens and improve the labels on such products. The regulations will entail classifying which sunscreen ingredients are generally safe and effective and which are not. In addition, the organization will require manufacturers to list the chemical ingredients on the front labels of sunscreens.

The proposal was developed after the FDA recognized that the existing regulations are now outdated. The regulations were last updated in the early ‘90s; since then, newer studies on cosmetic ingredients have been published, leading some people to question the agency’s approval of some ingredients. With the new regulations, the FDA would be taking the findings of modern studies into consideration.

Furthermore, the agency would be setting the conditions for selling sunscreens in the United States. Over-the-counter sunscreens need FDA approval to be marketed in the country. Currently, several sunscreen ingredients lack sufficient data providing their safety and effectiveness. Hence, the FDA would be running more tests on those ingredients before allowing the products containing them to be sold.

Although sunscreens are currently under scrutiny, experts hope that people will not give up using these products. A former president of the American Academy of Dermatology said that the sunscreens available in the market are satisfactory so far. In addition, one of the FDA directors noted that using sunscreens has its benefits, such as protection against harmful rays that can cause skin cancer.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, how often should regulations for skincare products (e.g. sunscreens) be reviewed and updated?
• After reviewing the ingredients of sunscreens, what do you think should the FDA do next?

Discussion B

• What should consumers prioritize (e.g. FDA approval, brand reputation) when buying skincare products? Why?
• How do you think consumers will respond if certain products they use (e.g. skincare, cosmetics) do not meet the new standards of safety and effectiveness?