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Sen. Chuck Schumer calls for FDA to investigate all sunscreen chemicals

Sen. Chuck Schumer asked federal regulators to take

Sen. Chuck Schumer asked federal regulators to take a close look at all sunscreen ingredients at a Bryant Park news conference Sunday. Photo Credit: Liam Quigley

Regulations on sunscreen are about to get updated for the first time in decades, and Sen. Chuck Schumer wants the Food and Drug Administration to leave no stone unturned when it comes to the chemicals used in sunscreen.

As Bryant Park sunbathers looked on, the senator called on federal overseers Sunday to review every active ingredient in sunscreens — not just PABA and trolamine salicylate, the two  to be blocked by the FDA under the new rules.

“Today, we are asking the FDA to do a complete and quick study of the other 12 chemicals," the senator said. "And if any of them are harmful, they should take them out of sunblock."

The two suspect ingredients are not used in sunscreens sold in the United States, but they would be declared not safe and effective when the rules are finalized in November.

Two other chemical ingredients — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — were recognized as safe and effective by the FDA,  which has said it will seek more data on the remaining dozen chemicals.

“As the summer begins, we are asking the FDA to quickly study these other 12 chemicals and ban them if they’re not good. Today we are telling the FDA what to do: uncloud all the ingredients in sunscreen before closing the book on new rules,” Schumer added.

Despite concerns over ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can destroy coral reefs and will soon be banned from sale in Hawaii, the senator -- who said he sports SPF50 -- was quick to slather on praise for the use of sunscreen.

“It was a great discovery to have sunscreen. Let’s make it as safe as possible -- ASAP. Just make it as safe as possible,” Schumer said.

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