Observations Yankee Doodling

My New Year’s wish is for an effective sunscreen

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7729 (Published 19 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7729
  1. Douglas Kamerow, senior scholar, Robert Graham Center for policy studies in primary care, and associate editor, The BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}aafp.org

President Obama signs bill to help US close the sunscreen gap

And now for something completely different: sunscreens and health policy. The United States, bastion of high technology, may in the next year or two finally catch up to the rest of the world in the availability of effective sunscreen preparations. In a rare show of bipartisanship between Republicans and Democrats and of cooperation between Congress and the White House, Congress passed and the president has now signed into law the Sunscreen Innovation Act.

A little background. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are of two major types, both deleterious to human skin and health. UVB rays cause burning and contribute to cancer risk, and UVA rays, penetrating more deeply, cause skin aging and also increase cancer risk. SPF, the skin protective factor number that we’ve all come to love and search for on our sunscreen’s label, measures only the sunscreen’s effectiveness in blocking UVB rays. Thus, it does not tell the …

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