Cancer Information Helpline Call 0800 226 237 Email an Information nurse

Cancer Society supports Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill

Cancer Society supports Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill

The Cancer Society of New Zealand notes National Party MP Todd Muller's Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill has passed its first reading and has been referred to Select Committee.

Wellington, 8 April 2021 – The Cancer Society of New Zealand notes National Party MP Todd Muller's Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill has passed its first reading and has been referred to Select Committee.

"Australia and New Zealand have the highest skin cancer incidence and mortality in the world," says Chief Executive Lucy Elwood.

Todd Muller's members' bill, if passed, would require the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to recommend setting mandatory regulation under section 29 of the Fair Trading Act 1986 prescribing a product safety standard for sunscreen products.

The Cancer Society supports Muller's call for better standards and regulations around sunscreen manufacturers' Sun Protection Factor (SPF) claims.

However, Elwood says the Bill, if passed, should only be seen as an interim solution and New Zealand should move to the Australian regulation model.

In New Zealand, sunscreens are currently classified as cosmetics under the Medicines Act 1981 and do not require the Minister of Health's consent for distribution. This is not good enough as sunscreen should be designed to help reduce skin cancer and save lives.

Including sunscreen under the Therapeutics Products Bill will ensure all sunscreen is tested and compliant with a globally recognised sunscreen standard. The Cancer Society supports the Australian/NZ Standard (AS/NZ 2604:2012), which is mandatory in Australia, but only voluntary here. The Cancer Society and many other brands already manufacture to this standard.

"The regular use of sunscreen, along with other sun protection strategies, reduces the incidence of skin cancers."

"Standardised labelling and testing recommendations should give Kiwis the confidence that they are using safe products to protect their skin from the adverse effects of UV radiation," concludes Lucy Elwood.

Read more:
Cancer Society of New Zealand submission - AS/NZS 2604 Sunscreen Products – Evaluation and Classification