The United States Senate is conducting a public spectacle, —err hearing, on the efficacy of sun blocker in lotions and cremes. It seems that the nasty cosmetics and personal products industry is mis-labeling its sun blockers. They are stating that the effects of the sun blocker lasts for several hours when in fact, a young mother once used a creme and after two hours, suffered a sunburn. This is clearly a national crises, which should and must override any consideration of those lesser concerns such as tax policy, immigration, transparency in earmarks, and minor issues such as a two front war on Islamic radicalism.

People use sun-tan lotions and sun-blockers to control the amount of UV radiation penetration into the skin. Sun-blockers, it seems inhibit only short wave UV-A waves whereas the sun spews out both UV-A and the longer UV-B which penetrate more deeply into the skin, and which are completely unaffected by sun-blockers. After a mere 40 or 50 years of buying sun-tan lotions, most consumers, I would speculate, understand that sun-tan lotion wears off and washes off (after all, why would companies sell a waterproof lotion?)

Further most people understand that if you stay out in the sun too long you will get a sunburn, no matter what you are wearing. Why this is a matter for the Senate, America’s most exclusive debating body, to consider is frankly, confusing.

This is especially true because the only action that the Senate can take is to task and mandate the FDA, which controls the labeling on these products, to modify the labels to say something to the effect that “This product lasts 2 hours” verses “This product lasts a few hours”. And of course, your milage may vary because the manufacturer has absolutely no control over the application of product in terms of uniformity, consistency, or timeliness.

Or maybe it is a concern for them. Maybe they are prescient and are looking forward to a time when sunblocks may be a significant factor in their tenure. I am reminded of a quote by the character Sarah Connor in Terminator II where she laments that “Anyone not wearing SPF two million is going to have a very bad day.”

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