With the world’s highest melanoma incidence rate, new regulations around sunscreen that come into effect today will better help Kiwis protect their skin.
The Sunscreen Safety Bill comes into effect on shelves around the country, meaning consumers can trust SPFs available are effective when used properly.
Australia and New Zealand have a shared Sunscreen Standard – AS/NZS 2604 – which specifies safety, testing methods and labelling requirements, intended to ensure sunscreen’s efficacy to at least the SPF listed on packaging. However, compliance with the standard, while mandatory in Australia, was previously voluntary in New Zealand, meaning there was no requirement for NZ sunscreen manufacturers to regularly test their products, or even test them at all.
Passed in March this year, the Sunscreen Safety Bill makes it mandatory to meet the AS/NZS 2604 Standard, spans primary sunscreen products, skin care products with SPF15 or more, and insect repellents with SPF 4 or more.
Cosmetics New Zealand, the incorporated body representing sunscreens, has been campaigning for the introduction of mandatory regulation against the Standard for many years, and even funded the national contribution to ensure sunscreens could be tested against a shared trans-Tasman benchmark, long before regulation was formalised.
Angela Buglass, Chair of the Cosmetics NZ Board says for most sunscreen brands, it means little change as they already sell their products in Australia where the Standard has been mandatory for almost 30 years.
“We’ve been advocating for this change for a long time, alongside dozens of sunscreen brands in this market, and for the majority it’s business as usual as they already have been meeting this Standard for many decades, so it’s a well-supported piece of legislation in the industry,” says Ms Buglass.
“For Kiwi shoppers, we are very pleased they can now have absolute confidence that all sunscreens on shelves are tested uniformly and can be trusted when used properly.”
Regulation and testing expert Garth Wyllie has sat on the AS/NZS 2604 Standard Committee for 16 years and says the lengths that brands must go to in order to meet SPF, broad spectrum and water resistance claims as outlined in the Standard, are very thorough.
“The process to create a sunscreen that meets the Standards is very robust, with many rounds of formulation and testing in independent external labs taking place before SPF confirmation and labelling even happens.”
The enforcement of the Sunscreen Safety Bill will be regulated under the Fair Trading Act.