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In 2007, the FDA began considering guidelines that would rate the effectiveness of SPF products at blocking UVA rays. If approved, a four-star system would show consumers how well any product protects skin. In addition, misleading claims like "all-day protection" would disappear from labels. But it's been three years, and the FDA has yet to make any decisions. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told the NYT that this is "largely attributable to the power and special-interest sway of sunscreen manufacturers."
The FDA aims to make a decision by October, which would put the new guidelines into place in 2012. But don't hold your breath, because that's not the only sunscreen issue on its plate. Sen. Chuck Schumer is pressuring the agency to explore the possible link between skin cancer and a common ingredient in sunscreen. Considering those two hefty issues, it's surprising to see how far we haven't come.