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Sunscreen 'may give false assurance'


Consumers may falsely believe they are protected from skin cancer and premature ageing, when they are only safe from sunburn.

Some sunscreen manufacturers are using words such as "sunblocker" which could give the impression of total protection from the sun's rays. But Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: "Consumers must be made fully aware that no sunscreen product can provide 100 percent protection against hazardous UV-radiation."

The Commission said the common label "sun protection factor (SPF)" referred only to ultraviolet UVB radiation, which causes sunburn. It does not include UVA rays, which lead to premature skin aging and immune system problems and contribute to skin cancer.

They are proposing new labels which get rid of words like "sunblocker" and indicate UVA protection in a standard format. They would also have clear warnings and instructions on how to use sunscreen properly.

The guidelines, expected to go into force in 2007, will apply to all sunscreen products sold in the EU, including those imported from other nations.