Slap a mandatory safety standard on sunscreens

Kiwis having fun in the sun shouldn’t have to feel the burn from suspect sunscreens.

That’s the NZ Medical Association’s call to lawmakers considering the Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill.

NZMA Chair Dr Alistair Humphrey says New Zealanders need to know the sunscreen they’re applying to themselves and family members is safe.

“Sunscreen needs to do what it says on the bottle,” Dr Humphrey says. “Recent experience indicates that’s not always the case.”

In 2020,seven of 12 sunscreens tested by Consumer NZ failed to meet their SPF label claim, while three of the seven failed the requirements for broad-spectrum protection.

And on Tuesday, it was reported that the owner of an American laboratory company that tested sunscreen products sold here has admitted falsifying results.

While New Zealand and Australia share a sunscreen safety standard that prescribes testing methods and labelling requirements, compliance here is only voluntary.

“In a country with one of the highest rates of skin cancer and melanoma in the world, it is unacceptable that sunscreen products here are not subject to mandatory regulation,” Dr Humphrey says.

The Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill requires the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to recommend the setting of mandatory regulation under section29 of the Fair Trading Act.

“We are fully supportive of this Bill,” Dr Humphrey says.

To read our full submission, click here.

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