Ministry: Sunscreen not only way to prevent skin cancer

Israel Cancer Association calls for stricter labeling of products.

June 17, 2011 04:53
1 minute read.
A Tel Aviv beach.

Tel Aviv beach_521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The Israel Cancer Association called on the Health Ministry on Thursday to adopt the stricter 2012 guidelines on sunscreens to minimize the risk of skin cancer issued the day before by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The ministry said that as a result of the FDA changes, it regarded sunscreens as just one of the means to prevent skin cancer.

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Sunscreens should not be regarded as the ultimate protection against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, rather one way to reduce the risk of skin cancer, said ICA Director Miri Ziv, who said she welcomed the new FDA guidelines, which include mandatory labeling of products with proven efficacy and ways in which they can be used properly to reduce risks.

Two years ago, the ICA already initiated a discussion with the ministry’s pharmaceutical division on the subject, and some of the conclusions have been implemented, including not making claims that sunscreens provide “absolute protection” against ultraviolet rays.

Following Tuesday’s statements by the FDA, the ICA said it would meet again with the ministry to prepare new guidelines for Israel, including recommending the application of sunscreen an hour before going into the sun and using two layers with an SPF of at least 15 that protects against both UVA and UVB.

The ICA said sunscreen products should be marked “broad spectrum” and labeled with a statement that they are not water resistant and do not protect against rays more than two hours after application.

Consumers should also be warned that UV ray damage to the DNA in skin cells is cumulative and cannot be repaired.

Aside from applying sunscreen regularly, the ICA advises wearing a broadbrimmed hat while in the sun, avoiding exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is most intense, wearing light, longsleeved shirts preferably from dense fibers and wearing UVprotective sunglasses.

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