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Senators Push FDA for Stronger Sunscreen Standards

Marianna Massey/Getty Images File Photo

However, the U.S. Treasury inspector general for tax administration found that the number of businesses paying the tax was much lower than what had been expected. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the tax would raise $200 million in fiscal 2011, but the IRS received tanning tax returns reporting only $36.6 million over that time frame.

Part of the difficulty came from finding the businesses that were liable for paying the tax, the inspector general said. The report also noted that the IRS could have done more to inform businesses of their filing responsibilities to bring them into compliance. The IRS agreed with the inspector general’s recommendations and published final regulations on the tanning tax in June.

In other congressional action on the issue, four House members — Republicans Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Peter Roskam of Illinois and Democrats Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Carolyn B. Maloney of New York — have established a congressional caucus to support legislation and policies addressing skin cancer.

Recently, doctors have been pushing for students to be allowed to bring sunscreen to school without restrictions. Because of FDA regulations, sunscreen is considered an over-the-counter medication, and laws in many states ban children from bringing any medication to school without a doctor’s note.

At its meeting in June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy supporting the exemption of sunscreen from that OTC medication ban.

“Students shouldn’t need to get a note from their physician in order to protect themselves from sun damage while they are at school,” AMA board member Alexander Ding said in a statement. “Even just a few sunburns can increase a child’s risk of skin cancer later in life, and they should be able to apply and reapply sunscreen at school.”

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