What to Watch in the 2020 Legislative Session



SUNucate legislation is pending in three states and Washington, D.C.

In Massachusetts, a state with a legislative session which spans two years, H 545, introduced in January 2019, is still active. The bill allows students to possess and use sunscreen without a note while on school property or at a school-related event and also states that a school district may encourage schools to educate students on sun safety. The bill also applies to youth camps and calls for schools and camps to allow the outdoor use of sun-protective clothing.

Temporary legislation has already been passed in Washington, D.C., and permanent legislation is pending.

In addition, SUNucate legislation was recently introduced in both Missouri (HB 1561) and Virginia (SB 44).

Sunscreen Availability

Two state bills have been introduced in Florida which would impact the availability of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. SB 318 would prohibit the sale of sunscreen containing either or both of these ingredients to a consumer without a prescription from a licensed medical professional. As rationale for this ban, the bill cites “significant harmful impacts on Florida’s marine environment and residing ecosystems, including coral reefs” of these ingredients.

On the other side of this issue, the Florida Drug and Cosmetic Act (HB 113/SB 172), would negate a ban scheduled to go into effect in Key West on the sale of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate and would preempt other potential community bans by mandating that the regulation of over-the-counter proprietary drugs, such as sunscreen, is delegated to the state.

On the federal level, the Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act of 2019 (H.R. 1834) would direct the Secretary of Commerce to issue regulations prohibiting the use of sunscreen containing oxybenzone or octinoxate in a National Marine Sanctuary in which coral is present. This legislation is currently before the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife.

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