News Room

Statement by Alexandra Kowcz, Chief Scientist Personal Care Products Council On the Sunscreen Ban in Hawaii

May 2, 2018

For Immediate Release

CONTACTS:      Lisa Powers, (202)466-0489,

    Jewel Jones, (202) 454-0302,


Washington, D.C. – “Sunscreens play a critical role as part of a safe sun regimen in the fight against skin cancer.  We appreciate the opportunity to work with legislators in Hawaii and all interested stakeholders who came together to address the issue of sunscreens and the coral reef.  Because science serves as the foundation for everything that we do, we remain concerned that policy decisions to restrict the use of sunscreen products with FDA approved sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are based on a limited body of scientific research from which concrete conclusions cannot be drawn.

“Coral reef degradation is an important environmental issue that we all take very seriously.  Causes for coral bleaching have been addressed by scientists around the world who state that the primary causes can be attributed to pollution, climate change and overfishing.  While we agree that coral health is of great importance, of similar great concern is the prevalence of skin cancer diagnoses and deaths.  More than 10,000 people die of melanoma every year, and there are more new cases of skin cancer each year than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined.  

“Daily use of sunscreens is a crucial step in the fight against skin cancer and premature skin aging.  This is why legislators in Florida, Washington, and twelve other states have expanded access to sunscreens through SUNucate, legislation that would allow students to possess and use a topical sunscreen product while on school or camp property without a physician's note or prescription. 

“The dangers of sun exposure are clear and universally recognized by public health professionals and dermatologists around the world.  When it comes to consumer health and safety, it is our hope that using sunscreen will be as much of a habit as putting on your seatbelt.”  

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Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council’s 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.