Sun Safety Experts Support Better Sunscreen Standards


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Comment Share Posted on Wednesday August 31st at 9:00 a.m.

The Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) and the New Zealand Dermatological Society welcome proposed changes to sunscreen standards that would see the SPF limit raised to 50+ (currently 30+) and removal of potentially misleading wording such as “sunblock” and “waterproof”.

These changes are part of a review of the Australian/New Zealand Standard for sunscreen products (AS/NZS 2604:1998). This Standard is used by manufacturers and suppliers of sunscreens here and in Australia, and sets out requirements for the testing and labeling of sunscreens in terms of their sunburn protection factors.

Manager of the HSC's SunSmart programme Laurianne Reinsborough says these proposed changes will provide better consumer protection through improved labeling on sunscreens. The HSC would also like to see the revised Standard require that all labels include advice about reapplying sunscreen at least every two hours and reiterate that sunscreen on its own is not enough.

"Using sunscreen is an important part of being safe in the sun but we'd like to remind people to also slip on a shirt and into the shade, slap on a wide brim hat and wrap on close-fitting sunglasses."

Clinical Associate Professor Amanda Oakley, President of the New Zealand Dermatological Society, says that New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma skin cancer in the world and it's our fourth most common cancer. In 2008, the Ministry of Health reported 2,256 cases of invasive melanoma and 317 deaths from melanoma in New Zealand. Many thousands of people are also treated for other types of skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

"Most of these skin cancers could have been prevented by being sun safe. From September to April, use sun protection, especially between 10am to 4pm. Using sunscreen is one way of reducing the risk of getting sunburnt. Changes to the Standard will make it easier for consumers to choose the appropriate product," she says.


Health Sponsorship Council -
The HSC is a Crown agency that promotes health and encourages healthy lifestyles among New Zealanders. As part of its core functions, the HSC operates the New Zealand SunSmart programme.

SunSmart -
The SunSmart programme has been in place since 1993. Its goals are to raise public awareness and promote behavioural change about sun safety.

New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated -
Provides authoritative facts about skin diseases, conditions and treatments for consumers, and location listings of dermatologists in New Zealand.

Standards New Zealand -
New Zealand's leading developer of Standards and Standards-based solutions. It is the operating arm of the Standards Council, an autonomous Crown entity operating under the Standards Act 1988.

Standards Australia -
An independent not-for-profit organisation, recognised by the Australian Government as the key non-government Standards body in Australia.


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