MEP Encourages Sunscreen Improvements In Fight Against Cancer

05 May 2006
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith today welcomed moves by the European Commission to improve labels on sunscreens as part of efforts to make sure people use adequate protection in the sunshine.

Currently sunscreens show the SPF level, eg SPF 15, 30 or 40 - this shows protection against sunburn - but not against UVA protection which is the main contributor to skin cancer.

Mr Smith, a member of MEPs against Cancer, said

"It came as news to me that a high SPF level did not guarantee me a high level of protection from UVA rays - the ones which contribute most to skin cancer levels.

"Many bottles of sunscreen already mention UVA protection but the consumer has no standard way of knowing how well they are actually protected - and that is the most important piece of information.

"Hopefully the European Union can come up with a way for manufacturers of sunscreen to let the public know how well they are protected against all harmful effects of the sun. What we need is a system that is the same across Europe - so no matter where you are on holiday, you'll know if you are protected.

"I know how much Scots love the sun, and despite not having much of it, we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in Europe. Action like this can help, but only if people remember not just to buy sunscreen but to use it."

"As we're coming up to summer and the sun is starting to peak out across Scotland, it's important that we all look after ourselves, use sunscreen and act sensibly when the sun's out to cut our risk of skin cancer."

Note to Editors

Full details of the European Commission proposal on sunscreen can be found here

MEPs Against Cancer is a group of over 40 MEPs who actively campaign to promote anti-cancer measures and to encourage the EU and individual countries to work together in the fight against cancer.