New Standard on sunscreen will protect New Zealanders

Issue 40 – July 2012

The following is a media release issued by Standards New Zealand on 18 June 2012.

A sun protection factor (SPF) of 50-plus is recommended under a new joint New Zealand/Australian Standard.

Chief Executive of Standards New Zealand, Debbie Chin, said the new Standard would help towards preventing skin cancers and melanoma in New Zealand.

'Raising the SPF limit was the decision of a panel of experts who believe this will result in a much better product on the shelves and will better protect Australians and New Zealanders from the harms of the sun.'

The revised Australian/New Zealand Standard – AS/NZS 2604:2012 Sunscreen products – Evaluation and classification – also states:

  • The term 'waterproof' is misleading and not permitted. The Standard acknowledges that sunscreens will wash off when immersed in water.

  • The term 'sunblock' is misleading and not permitted because it may be interpreted to mean that 100% of the sunburning radiation is blocked.

  • The term 'sweat proof' is misleading and not permitted. 'Sweat resistance' is not a substitute for 'water resistance'.

Mr Dalton Kelly, Chief Executive of the Cancer Society of New Zealand and a member of the Standards working group that developed the revised Standard, said he welcomed this initiative as a further step to help protect New Zealanders from skin cancer.

'This added level of protection is essential in our country where the risk of sun radiation is high.'

Garth Wyllie from the New Zealand Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, another member of the expert committee that developed the revised Standard, said it brings true international alignment across most of the test methods used by recognising the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standards developed for this purpose.

'It brings in a welcome increase in the permitted SPF claims for sunscreen products, but it also now captures a wider level of cosmetics containing SPF. Companies need to ensure they have a copy of this Standard if they wish to market cosmetic products containing SPF in Australia or to quote this Standard against claims of SPF in products sold in New Zealand.

This is the most significant change in sunscreen Standards in Australasia for more than 15 years.'

The committee charged with developing the Standard included stakeholders from dermatology, medicine, industry, retailers, cosmetics, cancer councils and consumer groups, academia, and government.

Published in consumer and occupational safety.

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