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New Rules to Prevent Serious Burns and Skin Cancer Caused by Defective Sunscreen

May 10, 2013

It is time again to start thinking about having fun this summer. Along with the plans for fun comes a need for plans on how to stay safe. The sunny weather represents an opportunity for you and your family to get outside and enjoy yourselves, but the sun also presents a potential for sunburns and possibly even a risk for skin cancer.

Sunscreens have been around for years and are often touted as the best method for protecting oneself against the sun, but scientific research over the years has questioned their ability to really block out both UVA and UVB rays. These sunrays are both known to cause cancer, but there is currently no distinction between which sunscreens actually protect against both of these types of rays. Some sunscreens only protect against UVB rays, which are primarily responsible for sunburns.

The FDA came out with updated regulations for consumer sunscreens, but that took effect last summer. However, it is important to understand the scope and impact of these new regulations. The new regulations will not allow sunscreens to be labeled as waterproof. They will be labeled instead with information on how long they can remain effective in water. Any sunscreen that has SPF protection levels lower than 15 will no longer be labeled as being able to offer any protection from the sun at all. They will instead have warning labels on them alerting people to the fact that their lack of protection could actually cause cancer.

These regulations don't cover all the aspects of sunscreen that are in question but at least it is a step in the right direction. The poor labeling and the endless products all stating the different uses for which they are good have confused consumers for far too long.

There was a study done by the Environmental Working Group that actually measured over 1,000 of the top name sunscreens on the market. The results were surprising, to say the least. Only about 15% of the 1,000 tested actually did the job of blocking out the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun. They also contained ingredients that were hazardous to people's health.

Children are especially susceptible to sunburn. It is important to take a vigilant approach to making sure that they do not go out in the sun without first applying sunscreen. The best sun protection is to limit exposure, especially at the hottest times of the day. If and when children go in the sun, they should be wearing hats with brims that will shield their faces and sunglasses to protect their eyes. Light cotton clothing can help protect them. If they will not wear long sleeves, then sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is critical.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping babies that are six months old or younger out of the sun and in the shade. They should still be dressed in light cotton clothing that covers their body. They should also be wearing a brimmed hat and sunglasses. If any part of the baby’s body is exposed, it should have sunscreen on the portion of the baby’s body that is exposed.

Remember these safety tips when going out in the summer sun:

  • Sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher is going to afford the most protection.
  • Remember to re-apply sunscreen after swimming, sweating, and every couple of hours.
  • Sunscreen only has a shelf life of about 3 years.
  • Try not to go out in the sun in the middle of the day when it is at its hottest.
  • Wear a sun hat or use an umbrella.
  • Wear long sleeves and clothing that has UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses that wraparound and protect your eyes.
  • Remember that certain elements like snow, water and sand reflect the UV rays, so that you are more likely to get burned.

The trick is to enjoy yourself while still protecting yourself and your family from harm from the sun and any products that you may use. Sometimes we think we are protecting ourselves when we use certain manufacturer's products, but the products prove to be inferior or fail to do what they claim to do. If you or your family is harmed due to a defective product, such as a sunscreen that allows your child to be seriously burned, then you may be entitled to compensation.

If you have suffered serious health effects, which may have been caused by a defective product, Montlick and Associates may be able to help. We have been representing those injured by defective products in Atlanta and throughout Georgia for nearly 30 years. Our product liability lawyers in Georgia are committed to providing exceptional service as part of our goal of being known as the best Atlanta product liability law firm in Georgia. Our Atlanta product liability attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.