More sunscreens have failed to address claims of sun protection on their labels, according to Consumer NZ.
Following outrage with some Sun Cancer Society sunscreens earlier this year, 10-person tests conducted by the consumer watchdog found five additional sunscreens with a lower SPF than sunscreen.
The Eco Tan Natural SPF30 coconut sunscreen only gave SPF12 in the test, Skinnies Kids Barefoot Babe SPF50 had an SPF of 25, and three more products – We Are Feel Good SPF50 Sunscreen Lotion, Le Tan Coconut Lotion SPF50 + and Cancer Society Kids Pure Low Irritant Sun Lotion SPF50 + – provided high protection "but not the very high protection they claim".
Sue Chetwin, chief executive of Consumer NZ, said the "disappointing" results followed an initial batch of tests in which six of the 10 sunscreens did not meet their SPF requirements.
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The response of some manufacturers has been "alarming," added Chetwin.
"Given the discrepancies found, we expect manufacturers to immediately test 10 people on their products and review their testing programs instead of attacking the messenger."
She said the test was conducted according to Australian and New Zealand standards and that any attempt by manufacturers to reject criticism was "irresponsible and unfounded."
Skinnies went to market with their Kids Barefoot Babe sunscreen after getting a test result that was only valid for one person.
"Then he discovered that the SPF was degrading and had to reshape," Chetwin said.
Skinnies is now testing the redesigned sunscreen again. Preliminary results have shown that the new product will likely meet its SPF50 claim, Consumer NZ advised.
The NZ Consumer warns those who seek the sun not to believe everything they read when wearing sunscreen.
The three most protective sunscreens still fell short of their SPF50 + claims with an SPF ranging from 41 to 45.
Two of them, Le Tan and We Are Feel Good Inc, provided laboratory reports showing that their products had been tested on 10 individuals and met their claims before being placed on the market.
The Cancer Society based SPF's claim on Kids Pure Low SPF50 + Infant Irritant Sun Lotion in a technical report on a 10-person test of a formula with different preservatives.
The technical report included only a three-person test of the sunscreen tested by consumer NZ.
As a result of the NZ Consumer's findings, the Cancer Society sent the sunscreen to an American laboratory for testing.
Preliminary results showed that sunscreen is likely to meet its SPF50 + label claims, but consumer NZ says the company has not yet provided a full test of 10 subjects.
The companies were approached to comment.
Consumer NZ is testing four more sunscreens and the results will be online at consumer.org.nz as soon as they become available.