By Stephanie Stahl

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The FDA has issued a long-awaited plan to update regulations for sunscreen products. The FDA says many of them contain chemicals that have not been proven to be safe or effective.

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The FDA wants the latest science applied to sunscreens and is proposing major changes. It also wants more research to determine the safety of 12 chemical ingredients used in many sunscreens.

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It would require products with an SPF of 15 or greater to offer broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, which can cause cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher.

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“The AAD’s recommendations are based on the existing body of scientific evidence. It may evolve if science evolves,” said Dr. Terrence Cronin, a dermatologist.

While some chemicals are being reviewed, the academy says oxybenzone is among the few FDA-approved ingredients able to block both UVA and UVB rays. Also, zinc oxide and titanium oxide are considered powering weapons in guarding against sun damage.

When it comes to SPF labeling, the FDA wants to raise the maximum 50-plus to 60-plus, based on new evidence of some clinical benefits.

Products with an SPF of 15 or higher must also provide broad-spectrum protection.

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The proposed regulation would also require sunscreen manufacturers to clearly label their products with active ingredients on the front, as well as have more clear formats for SPF, broad-spectrum and water-resistant statements.

Stephanie Stahl