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12 March 2021

Media alert: Sunscreen Bill highlights need for mandatory standard

The Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill, pulled from yesterday’s ballot, highlights the need for better regulation and could provide an opportunity to make sunscreen testing mandatory, Consumer NZ says.

The private member’s bill was put forward by National MP Todd Muller.

Sunscreen is currently classified as a cosmetic. Manufacturers aren’t required to regularly test these products and the sunscreen standard is voluntary. In Consumer NZ's 2020 sunscreen test, five of 10 products didn’t meet their SPF label claim. Two of those also failed to meet the requirements for broad-spectrum protection.

In Australia, sunscreen is subject to a mandatory standard and regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

"New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer and melanoma. Kiwi consumers should be able to buy sunscreens knowing the products have been tested and meet their SPF label claims," Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said.

In 2019, Consumer NZ wrote to the then Minister of Health urging for priority to be given to a mandatory sunscreen standard.

"Whether progress is made through a private member’s bill or through other regulation, it’s time for action. Regulation will need to include requirements for regular testing, so manufacturers can’t rely on historical tests.”

Read the Consumer NZ sunscreen report.

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