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Sunscreen as a bug spray?

Published June 12, 2007


Sunscreen and insect repellent in the same bottle may save time, but the government is questioning if there should be more oversight.

The issue: A handful of small studies, using animal and human skin cells, say mixing sunscreen with the insect repellent DEET might increase DEET absorption - and make sunscreen not protect as well.

Also, sunscreen is supposed to be applied repeatedly in great dollops as sweating or swimming wears it off. And it's for young children, starting at 6 months of age. But insect repellents have limits on how often they are used and how young. How can product labels reconcile those instructions?

About 20 versions of sunscreen-bug repellent combinations are sold. The FDA regulates sunscreen, and the Environmental Protection Agency regulates insect repellent - but the combo products are in limbo, not really belonging to either agency.

The FDA has put out a notice seeking comment on whether concerns were strong enough that the products should have additional oversight.

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association contends the studies that raised the questions are flawed.

[Last modified June 12, 2007, 02:07:45]

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