Assemblyman Weisenberg’s legislation to require sunscreen expiration dates passes Assembly

April 6, 2011
Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D–Long Beach) announced Assembly passage of a bill he authored that requires sunscreen products to be labeled with best-if-used-before dates and storage recommendations (A.4435). The purpose of this legislation is to help maintain the effectiveness of sunscreen, aiming to reduce the cases of skin cancer.

“Nassau County has some of the highest rates of melanoma in the state,” Assemblyman Weisenberg said. “My wife and I have both had experiences with skin cancer, so I’ve seen firsthand the dangers. This disease is preventable, and by including sunscreen expiration dates, we can protect New Yorkers from the harmful effects of the sun.”

According to the New York State Department of Health, Nassau County has a 15 percent higher rate of melanoma than the rest of the state and the disease caused nearly 400 local hospitalizations between 2003 and 2007.1 These numbers exemplify the need for such legislation, Weisenberg said.

“Many people don’t realize that time and the way sunscreen is stored changes its effectiveness,” Assemblyman Weisenberg said. “Providing an expiration date to consumers and outlining proper storage information is one simple step in combating the high rates of skin cancer we see in Nassau County.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

The sun's UV rays can cause skin damage in as little as 15 minutes. The CDC recommends using sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially after swimming.