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Although Merck, the manufacturer of Coppertone and multiple sun protection products, has already met the FDA's new broad-spectrum standard and has not had to modify any of their product formulations, “we're working hard to get all the relabeling done to meet the implementation date of next June,” says Patricia Again, PhD, scientific affairs leader at the Coppertone Solar Research Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Shortly after the new FDA requirements were announced, Coppertone conducted a survey of consumers and found that although two-thirds of them had heard of the regulations, many did not understand them and only one-third knew that there would be new labeling by next summer. “These new rules present a great opportunity to educate consumers about sun protection, and I'm sure there will be a lot of media coverage as the sun season starts,” Dr. Again says, adding that Coppertone will provide educational materials for both consumers and retailers.

Merck and other manufacturers have petitioned the FDA for the approval of new sunscreen ingredients and combinations, many of which have been used in Europe, Canada, and Australia for a long time. “These additional ingredients would give US manufacturers the opportunity to choose from a wider portfolio and formulate even better products than we have now,” says Dr. Again, adding that the FDA is continuing to review those ingredients.