Cancer Information Helpline Call 0800 226 237 Email an Information nurse

Mandatory Sunscreen Standard

Mandatory Sunscreen Standard

We need a mandatory sunscreen standard in New Zealand, say the Cancer Society

“It’s the start of the sunburn season of summer when we need to be extra careful about sun protection,” says Lucy Elwood, CE of the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

Cancer Society’s advice for the season is that any broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is safe to use, when applied correctly and in combination with other SunSmart principles (slip, slap, slop, and wrap).

However, a mandatory sunscreen standard would mean sunscreen sold here would meet reliable world standards say the Cancer Society.

“We’d like to see New Zealand introduce a regime similar to Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Act. This will reassure New Zealanders that standards for sunscreen meet the same requirements as medicines. Currently, retail sunscreen is classified as a cosmetic.

“This isn’t good enough for a country like ours with the highest rates of skin cancer and melanoma in the world.”

“Cancer Society products are manufactured as a medicine in Australia. This means they are subject to strict manufacturing guidelines by the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Act.”

The Cancer Society are pleased that a recent Consumer NZ test on their Cancer Society Everyday SPF50+ product met SPF and broad-spectrum label claims.

“Our products have shown they meet reliable standards for sun protection use. This is added reassurance for New Zealanders wanting to protect themselves against the sun.

Cancer Society urges consumers not to panic - even if you have a sunscreen that didn’t meet its claim, the test results showed all SPF 50+ products providing high protection.

“These will still protect you from most UV rays. SPF 30 allows about 3% of harmful UV rays through, and an SPF 50 allows about 2%.

“It would be a shame if consumers chose to throw out usable products that still provide sun protection.”