New Rules for Ray Blockers

The Food and Drug Administration has issued new rules for sunscreen products. While the changes will be phased in over the next two years, some sunscreen makers have already begun making changes in their product labeling.

* Sunscreens must carry an SPF number from 2 to 30+.

* The rules set up three labeling categories: minimal (SPF 2 to 11), moderate (SPF 12 to 29) and high (SPF 30+).

* Sunscreen labels can no longer carry such claims as "sun block," "waterproof," "all-day protection" and "visible and/or infrared protection." Regulators concluded such claims were misleading.

* An optional consumer alert statement will read: "Sun alert: Limiting sun exposure, wearing protective clothing and using sunscreens may reduce the risks of skin aging, skin cancer and other harmful effects of the sun."

* Tanning preparations that do not contain any active sunscreen chemicals are required to carry this message: "Warning--this product does not contain a sunscreen and does not protect against sunburn. Repeated exposure of unprotected skin while tanning may increase the risk of skin aging, skin cancer and other harmful effects to the skin even if you do not burn."

* The FDA has approved a list of 16 active sunscreen ingredients that offer protection.

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