(NewsNation) — As most Americans are enjoying some fun in the sun during summer, some U.S. sunscreen regulations may be holding us back from getting the best sun protection.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is lobbying to change that.
As she explained in a recent TikTok video, the United States regulates sunscreen as a drug rather than a cosmetic. It’s led to less innovation, leaving Americans with the same product that has to be reapplied every few hours and can leave a white cast.
In contrast, countries like France, South Korea, the U.K., Japan and Australia use UV-blocking ingredients that aren’t yet approved in the United States, Insider reported. As a result, sunscreens in those countries offer better protection and provide smoother application.
The FDA hasn’t approved a new UV filter since 1999. Dr. Ellen Gendler, a dermatologist practicing in New York City, told Insider that U.S. sunscreens are good at blocking UVB rays that cause sunburn but not UVA rays, which penetrate deeper and can cause skin cancer.
“Congress has not been very aware of this issue, which is why there hasn’t been a lot of momentum behind this issue,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the TikTok video explaining the lack of action.
She called on viewers to contact members of Congress and urge them to push for looser FDA restrictions and more public funding for research.
Her advocacy has drawn bipartisan support from at least one Republican, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
“There’s no left or right when it comes to UV light,” he said in a tweet promoting a Deseret News story about the joint effort.
Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins said actions such as this could help elevate Ocasio-Cortez to higher office.
“We’ve really got to pause for a minute and think about how far Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has come in the last two cycles,” he said Wednesday on “The Hill on NewsNation.” “She’s repeatedly worked across the aisle and tried to work with Republicans in areas where she can find help, and I think that’s something that she really has to thank Nancy Pelosi for — Pelosi’s really been a mentor for her.”