Belgian consumer agency files complaint against 5 sunscreen products

Belgian consumer agency files complaint against 5 sunscreen products
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Belgian consumer protection organisation Test Achats has filed a complaint with the Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment Agency against five sunscreen products that do not deliver their promised protection.

Among them is a sunscreen from Zwitsal that promises protection for infants, specifically, which Test Achats found especially not up to standard considering the same brand was also singled out last year for two other products – both of which can still be currently found on the market.

“We have filed a complaint with the FPS Public Health against the three new products that do not respect the promised protection, and have asked for explanations regarding the presence on the market of the Zwitsal products tested last year and whose composition remained unchanged,” spokesperson Julie Frère of Test Achats said in a statement.

“We are asking for these products to be withdrawn from the market or, at the very least, for the protection factor to be adapted on the packaging.”

The organisation is emphasising the urgency of the matter, as many people will be soon buying sunscreen as summer draws closer.

16 sun protection products were analysed

The consumer protection agency examined 16 sunscreen products on the market, including 10 that claimed to deliver SPF 50/50+ and six lotions and sprays claiming SPF 30.

Three products did not meet the promised protection against either UVB or UVA or both, and another two did not protect against UVB.

“Sunscreen products are supposed to protect against two types of radiation,” the agency explained.

“The protection factor or SPF (Sun Protection Factor) refers to protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburn. They should also offer protection against UVA rays, which are responsible for skin ageing. In Europe, UVA protection must be at least one third of the protection against UVB.”

Both types of radiation are responsible for skin cancer.

Repeat offenders noted in the complaint

The products facing complaints are ISDIN gel cream SPF 30, which in reality is only SPF 15; Clinique Mineral sunscreen SPF 30, which in fact only offers SPF 10; Clinique Mineral sunscreen SPF 30, which doesn’t protect against UVA; Zwitsal SPF 50+ with fragrance, which doesn’t protect against UVA; and Zwitsal SPF 50+ without fragrance, which likewise doesn’t offer UVA protection.

The ISDIN gel cream was supposedly removed from the market, but Test Achats says it can still be found and purchased, especially online.

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“This is not the first time that Test Achats has pointed the finger at a product from the ISDIN brand: already in 2019, we denounced a spray that boasted an SPF of 50+ when it actually only offered an SPF 15,” the organisation said.

And ISDIN wasn’t the only brand making a repeat appearance: “Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, we have to note that the brand Zwitsal, which offers products especially for babies and children, does not respect the protection promised on the packaging.”

“This is not only illegal, but also unacceptable when we know that young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the sun,” said Frère.

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