Life Saving Sunscreen Expiration Dates Pass Legislature

David Carlucci

July 18, 2014

Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) passed legislation this year in the State Senate that provides expiration dates on sunscreen sold within New York State. The bill is meant to ensure New Yorkers are not using old, outdated sunscreen that has lost its ability to fight the sun’s UV rays.

According to the American Cancer Society, sunscreen is one of the single most effective methods to prevent forms of skin cancer, as over 800,000 new skin cancer cases of highly curable cancers are diagnosed per year. With the first day of summer behind us, these labels are especially important to inform consumers that sunscreen loses its effectiveness after a certain point.

Consumer Reports recently reported that sunscreen remains at its original strength for about three years. The active ingredient in sunscreen also breaks down if left in hot environments. A clear and conspicuous label indicating the date after which a sunscreen product is no longer viable or effective is necessary to alert the consumer of the added risks of sun exposure they may encounter.

Senator David Carlucci said, "After languishing in the Senate for fourteen years, I made it a priority to pass this piece of legislation to ensure families know the dangers associated with old sunscreen. Skin cancer is one of the leading causes of death in America today. Life saving expiration dates on sunscreen will go a long way to reversing skin cancer rates and will ultimately save lives.”

More than 53 million children spend a substantial portion of their lives in school, and some of that time is spent outdoors in the sun. These labels are especially important with children's sunscreen, as young people tend to be more severely burned and are in greater danger than adults.

Dr. Robert Cohen (Orangeburg Dermatologist) said, "I want to thank Senator Carlucci for his leadership in fighting skin cancer in our communities. As a dermatologist, I know all too well the negative effects of over-exposure to the sun. Sunscreen is one of the number one ways we can prevent skin cancer from developing, but only if used before the product expires. Expiration dates are not only common sense, but they will also save lives.”

Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack said, "The summer is a time for families around Rockland to enjoy the outdoors. Here in Clarkstown we have some of the best public pools and spaces around for outdoor activities. I want to thank Senator Carlucci for acting proactively and protecting people by requiring life-saving expiration labels on sunscreen."

Congresswoman Nita Lowey said, “Protecting ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays prevents skin cancer and starts with being informed about sunscreen. Consumer protection laws regarding UVA radiation that I called for in 2007 have allowed families in the Lower Hudson Valley to make better decisions for their health and safety while they enjoy the summer sun. I support Senator Carlucci’s effort to require expiration dates on sunscreen sold within the Empire State and will continue to work in partnership with him to protect New York consumers.”