Consumer NZ has launched an online database allowing New Zealanders to choose sunscreen brands that are transparent about how often they test their products.
Belinda Castles, research and test writer at Consumer NZ says an overwhelming 92% of people think companies should be required to regularly test their products to ensure different batches meet their label claims. But this isn’t a requirement under the mandatory sunscreen standard.
“Our independent testing over many years has found companies often rely on tests that are several years old to support claims. We don’t think this is good enough for a product that needs to protect us from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
“We asked more than 90 companies selling sunscreen in New Zealand for information about when and where their products have been tested.
“30 brands came back to us with up-to-date information about their tests, product ingredients and claims. We have compiled this information into our new database, which is free and available to all New Zealanders.”
The database also has information about sunscreen ingredients, SPF and water-resistance claims, sunscreen type and price.
Consumer NZ’s sunscreen database allows New Zealanders to choose sunscreen brands that are transparent about how often they test their products. Image: Consumer NZ.
Several companies, including Beiersdorf (Nivea), and Edgewell Personal Care (Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic) declined to provide product information or say when or where their sunscreen was tested, referring Consumer to the industry body, Cosmetics NZ, for further comment.
Cosmetics NZ general manager Martha van Arts said most of the information requested by Consumer was publicly available, and all sunscreens now for sale in New Zealand must comply with the Sunscreen Act and standard.
“Whether a sunscreen is a global brand or independent brand with small distribution, it must be tested for safety and efficacy, specifically with regards to SPF claims,” says Ms van Arts.
While Consumer acknowledges that may be the case, the watchdog believes there’s no valid reason for companies not to disclose when and where their sunscreens were tested.
“Until now, it has been impossible for consumers to know when or where a product was tested. We have designed and created this database to give New Zealanders the information they want and need.”
For more information about Consumer’s call for safer sunscreens, head to the campaign hub on its website.