FTC Charges Five ‘Natural’ Products Firms Over Claims
Agency says companies falsely lotions and sunscreens containing synthetic ingredients
The Federal Trade Commission sounded a warning to consumer products companies that claim their goods are completely natural, after bringing charges Tuesday against five sellers of skin-care products.
The agency, which enforces federal truth-in-advertising laws, said the five companies falsely promoted their shampoos, skin lotions or sunscreens as being “all natural” or “100% natural,” when the products contained some synthetic ingredients.
“Companies should take a lesson from these cases,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection said in a statement. She said products that claim to be all natural should have “no artificial ingredients or chemicals.”
The actions mark the first time the FTC has targeted the natural claims made by personal-care products, an industry that has proliferated in recent years. There are no guidelines or legal definitions of what constitutes “natural,” and many companies have taken to calling their products natural if some of their ingredients are derived from plant-based materials.
U.S. sales of so-called natural personal care products were roughly $5 billion in 2015 and are forecast to increase at a 6% annual rate through 2019, according to estimates from consulting firm Kline & Co. Many products that make natural claims charge a premium relative to their mainstream peers.
Four of the companies in the FTC’s complaints agreed to settle the charges and change their labels and advertising, or drop their all-natural claims on products including Rocky Mountain sunscreen and Beyond Coastal sunscreen. Some of the products contain ingredients such as dimethicone, a lubricating agent, and phenoxyethanol, a preservative that is also commonly found in cleaning products.
The commission is moving forward with a lawsuit against a fifth firm, California Naturel Inc. The Sausalito, CA company sells sunscreen labeled as “all natural” that the FTC said contains dimethicone. A 2.3 ounce tube of the sunscreen retails for $35 on the brand’s website, which says the product was formulated with “Glacial Oceanic Materials” and contains antioxidants from botanical sources.
A note on the company’s website says the FTC required the company to add information noting that “Dimethicone, a synthetic ingredient, is 8% of the sunscreen formula, the remaining 92% are natural products.” The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The FTC said companies must be able to back up their product claims with scientific evidence and can’t violate the law by making deceptive claims. The companies that settled the charges are Trans-India Products Inc. of Santa Rosa, Calif.; Erickson Marketing Group Inc. in Arvada, Colo.; ABS Consumer Products LLC in Memphis, Tenn.; and Beyond Coastal in Salt Lake City. The companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
FDA Regulations for Sunscreens
The FDA, which regulates drugs and medical devices, announced updated rules that will govern sun screens sold in the U.S. The rules will not go into effect until the summer of 2012, but the proposal does offer interesting insight to Sunscreens and their true sun protective qualities.The new rules will require sunscreens to:
A. Define the term "Broad Spectrum." To carry the term "Broad Spectrum" sunscreens must:
1. Provides a minimum level of UVA protection.
2. Must undergo both an SPF test and a UVA test.
3. Must provide adequate protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
B. The FDA is forbidding sun screen makers from using the terms: Waterproof, Sweat proof and Sunblock.
1. Sunscreen labels may use the terms "water resistant" and "sweat resistant."Sun screens will be tested and labeling must communicate the number of minutes (a maximum of 40 minutes or 80 minutes) assessed by the testing.
2. A sunscreen that isn't water resistant or sweat resistant needs to caution users to apply often when swimming or sweating.
C. A sunscreen cannot claim to provide sun protection for more than 2 hours without reapplication or to provide protection immediately after application (for example- "instant protection") without submitting data to support these claims and obtaining FDA approval.
D. A sunscreen with an SPF of less than 15 will be required to have warnings and cannot make a skin cancer prevention claim. These sunscreens can only make a sunburn claim.E. In other proposed guidance, the FDA is recommending a cap of 50+ SPF, unless a manufacturer can show that a higher number is defensible to help consumers and patients.
F. Spray Sunscreens labeling will require information on application doses. G. SPF measures the time a person can stay in the sun without burning. For instance, if you are able to stay in the sun for 1 minute with-out sun protection and not burn, a sun protective product with an SPF factor of 15 would allow 15x's the exposure, or 15 minutes without burning. Definition of Sun Care Terms SanSoleil is proud to offer the perfect combination of comfort and sun-protection.
The following facts should aid in identifying skin care alternatives for you, your members and employees:
Regarding Sun Protection:"SPF and UPF" Stands for Sun Protection Factor. UPF generally refers to apparel while SPF refers to Lotions. Both terms refer to protection from two types of Ultraviolet Radiation; UVA and UVB Rays:
a. UVA (Remember "A" for Aging rays.*) UVA rays have a longer wave length. These penetrate beneath the top layer of skin into the epidermal layer. Sunscreen lotions generally do not protect against UVA Rays unless classified as "Broad Spectrum" sunscreens. UVA accounts for much of the aging characteristics our skin derives from too much sun. (*UVA Rays are also the cause of skin cancers like Melanoma.)
b. UVB (Remember "B" for Burning rays.) UVB rays have a shorter wavelength. Sunscreens of SPF 15 and greater are effective at protecting against these rays. (The more energy rich UV-B rays penetrate only a few millimeters into the skin. This causes the pigment to change, which results in browning of the skin.)2. An "UPF" of 15 protects the skin from 93 percent of the sun’s UVB Rays. An "SPF" of 25 protects from about 96% of UVA Rays. It is impossible to have 100% of the sun's UVB rays eliminated. (An "SPF" of 50 only stops about 98% of UVB rays.)
c. Sunscreens do not protect against UVA (the primary aging and cancer causing) rays. The only reliable protection from UVA and UVB rays is sun protective clothing.
d. Regarding SanSoleil…Skin care you can wear…
a. SanSoleil tops are all rated above 30 UPF. This stops on average of 98% of the Aging, Cancer and Burning rays. (Both UVA and UVB, a “Very Good” rating.)
b. “SanSoleil Sun Protection” lasts wash after wash.
c. SanSoleil Cotton tops are easy care. Simply:
a. Wash in cold water.
b. Remove from dryer after 10 minutes. Lay flat to till dry.
d. SanSoleil SolTec Performance fabrics may be left in dryer to completely dry. SolTec wicks moisture, offers natural stretch, and 30+ UPF If you have questions regarding sun protection please call 800-654-6773.
SanSoleil...Skin Care You Can Wear....
What is UPF Garment Testing & Labeling?
In 1992, the UPF rating system was established in Australia, the birthplace of all things sun protection.
The Australian Radiation Laboratory, which later became the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), established standards for products claiming to be sun protective.
In 1998, the United States began testing textiles and garments claiming to be sun protective. The American Association of Textile Chemist and Colorist (AATCC) adopted the system used in Australia by the ARPANSA. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) expanded testing to include a garment labeling for UPF.
There are three categories for labeling of UPF garments:
A UPF of 15 – 24 provides “Good UV Protection”
A UPF of 25 – 39 provides “Very Good UV Protection”
A UPF of 40 – 50 provides “Excellent UV Protection”
Debunking the myths of skin-cancer
Avoiding the sun will result in Vitamin D Deficiency; A review of over 1000 medical studies reveals that the great majority of Americans more than enough Vitamin D from their diets.Yogurt, eggs, milk and fish all contain Vitamin D.If a blood test shows Vitamin D deficiency, a Vitamin D supplement is smarter solution than excessive amounts of sunshine.
Salon UV Nail Dryers are skin-cancer risks; Most experts now see UV Drying Lamps as a skin-cancer risk. The Archives of Dermatology have documented cases of women with no pre-disposition to skin-cancer developing cancerous cells on their hands.These cells are a possible result of UV Nail Lamp use.
Tanning Beds may double the risk of Melanoma Skin Cancer; Stay away. Period.
Skin Cancer has an indicator gene; A study by the University of Cincinnati shows the abnormal functioning of the gene MC1R, a gene which governs pigmentation, may make skin cells more prone to UV Rays.This discovery may enable doctors predict patients likelihood of developing cancer
Merck MRK -0.07% & Co. agreed to pay between $3 million and $10 million to settle a long-standing class-action suit involving Coppertone sunscreen, which the drug maker inherited when it acquired rival Schering-Plough in 2009.
As part of the settlement, which was filed Friday in a New Jersey district court, Merck also agreed to stop using the terms "sunblock," "waterproof," "sweat-proof," "all day" or "all day protection" in its labeling or advertising of Coppertone sunscreen products manufactured after June for sale in the U.S.
On its website, Coppertone currently uses terms such as "water resistant" and "stays on strong when you sweat."
Starting in late 2003, several lawsuits were filed against Schering-Plough, alleging the company may have exaggerated the effectiveness of its sunscreens in its advertising and labeling. Merck later bought Schering-Plough for about $41 billion.
Merck will also pay as much as $1.50 for each eligible Coppertone sunscreen product bought from July 2006 that is submitted to the settlement.
US Sun Screen Brands Limited by Lack of Long Range UVA Filters
Henry Lim, Chairman of Dermatology at the Henry Ford Hospital, reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article: “The limited availability of UVA filters hinders sun screen makers to create good, broad based spectrum sun screens.”
Dr. Lim is referring to the FDA’s reluctance to approve several chemicals that are purported to enhance a sun screen’s effectiveness in combating the UVA rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin causing aging and rapid deterioration of the collagen. UVA rays are also thought to be the primary key to the formation of the deadly Melanoma Cancer.
The US Sun Screen industry relies upon two chemicals as UVA filters: Oxybensone and Avobenzone. The chemical filters work largely by absorbing the sun’s rays.
The chemical Oxybensone has a number of shortcomings:
It causes allergic reactions.
Studies have found it is absorbed into blood stream. This affects hormone levels.
Oxybensone also only absorbs the shorter form of UVA Rays.
The chemical Avobenzone has issues also:
It breaks down in sunlight.
Avobenzone reduces the effectiveness of the UVB filters when combined with different chemicals.
The sun screen industry is lobbying the FDA for access to a wider range of UVA filters. These filters are currently being used in Europe, but have not met the USA’s testing requirements. There is fear that the new UVA Filters may be highly allergenic or affect estrogen levels.
Inorganic / Mineral Based Sun Screens
Generally come in two types; Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. Both are considered effective UVA and UVB blocks. Each works by deflecting or reflecting (like a mirror) the sun’s rays away from the skin. They don’t break down as easily as the UVA filters and are non-allergenic.
These chemicals have large particle size. This causes the white “chalky” appearance once applied. Efforts to reduce the size of the particles have raised safety concerns. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide appear to penetrate the skin and interact with cells when applied in smaller particles.