FDA changes sunscreen guidelines

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PHOENIX – For the first time in 30 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is changing sunscreen guidelines.

The FDA is banning the words “waterproof,” “sweat-proof” and “sun block” from sunscreen labels.

The agency says sunscreens are water resistant at best and will require manufacturers to print how long that resistance lasts on their labels.

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor numbers, will also change as part of the FDA overhaul.

FDA officials indicate any SPF rating higher than 50 appears to be a marketing tool. Several brands now selling SPFs of 100 or more will have to change their labels to read "SPF 50."

Any sunscreen the FDA considers insufficient will have to carry a cancer warning on its label. This will include any sunscreens with less than a 15 SPF, along with sunscreens which do not block both UVA and UVB rays.

Federal regulators will require sunscreen manufacturers to test their products' effectiveness against sun rays that pose the greatest risk of skin cancer.

Starting next summer, products must be tested for how well they deflect the more dangerous ultraviolet A rays. UVA rays are most commonly linked to skin cancer.