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BETHESDA, Md.--(BW HealthWire)--Sept. 18, 1998--Speaking out today at a medical conference sponsored by theNational Cancer Institute, the FDA and seven other governmentagencies, Dr. Michael F. Holick, a professor of medicine anddermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine, stronglyurged all sunscreen manufacturers to use warning labels, regarding UVexposure, on sunscreen products.
Holick said that despite the increase in sunscreen use, skincancer rates are continuing to rise. Although sales in the sun-carecategory rose 11 percent in 1997 in the United States, the number ofmelanoma cases reported have continued to rise, about 4 percent eachyear, since the 1970s. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer,will strike more than 40,000 Americans this year.
``Many consumers don't realize that sunscreens have never beenclinically proven to prevent skin cancer. This false sense of securitymay be encouraging sunbathers to stay out in the sun longer than theynormally would, thus accounting for the rise in skin cancer rates,''said Holick.
While many consumer products, including children's toys, musicCDs and even bed mattresses contain warning labels, most sunscreenlabels do not. Only one sunscreen manufacturer, California Tan, basedin Los Angeles, currently places warning labels on sunscreen bottles.The warnings read: ``With sunscreen protection, UV exposure can stilllead to skin cancer and premature aging, even if you don't burn.''
Although warning labels are not currently mandated by the FDA,Holick would like to see other sunscreen manufacturers, such asSchering-Plough, manufacturer of the popular Coppertone sunscreenlabel, take the responsible step by following California Tan'sexample.
Holick is an endocrinologist; a professor of medicine, physiologyand dermatology; and a renowned researcher in the areas of vitamin D,skin and bone health, and sunlight exposure at the Boston UniversitySchool of Medicine. Holick also serves as the director of theHeliotherapy Light and Skin Research Center at the Boston Universityof Medicine, which is dedicated to the study of both the positive andnegative effects of sun and UV-light exposure on the body.
California Tan is a leading sun-care product manufacturer basedin Los Angeles.
California Tan, Los Angeles 310/824-2508 Jennifer Stevenson, ext. 281 Kimberlee Mitchell, ext. 258
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