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Possible Link To Sunscreen, Skin Cancer

June 14, 2010

A senator asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sunday to reveal findings on a possible link between a chemical found in most sunscreens and skin cancer.

The FDA has been reviewing data from several studies on a potential link between retinal palmitate (RP), a common sunscreen additive, and cases of skin cancer.  However, Senator Charles Schumer said no rulings or guidelines have been issued yet.

“With the recent reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and a common chemical found in sunscreens, the FDA must act now to protect consumers,” Schumer said at a news conference and in a later statement.

“Summer is here, people are soaking up the sun and the FDA needs to immediately provide guidance and reassurance to consumers,” the New York Democrat added.

Schumer said his reasons for calling on the FDA to provide its evaluation of the data and recommendations is because the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) have conducted studies that suggest a possible link between skin cancer and retinal palmitate.

He also pressed the agency to find a time line for new sunscreen regulations.

Retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A derivative, is found in hundreds of the most popular sunscreen products.

Schumer’s office said one study found that tumors and lesions developed 21 percent faster in lab animals coated with retinal palmitate-laced cream than animals treated with a cream that did not contain RP.

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