UK public warned against fake sunglasses, sunscreen

SunburnConsumers in the UK are being warned to be wary of fake sunglasses and sunscreen during the country's annual Sun Awareness Week.

Fresh from the sunniest April on record (and as the rain comes down in May), the UK has started the annual awareness-raising week with the news that more than three quarters of Britons have no idea how to recognise the signs of skin cancer, according to the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).

72 per cent of people admitted that they had been sunburned in the last year, which is a particular concern given that the risk of developing melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - is more than doubled in people with a history of sunburn compared with people who have never been sunburned.

Trading Standards has taken the opportunity to warn consumers to check that new sunglasses and sunscreen offer the necessary protection against ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.

"Counterfeit sunglasses and some cheap imports often offer no UVA and UVB protection, meaning they can damage people’s eyes," notes Staffordshire Trading Standards

Under EU law, sunglasses should carry labelling indicating their tint, from one to four, and people should not drive when wearing very dark (four) tints. Staffordshire council carried out a sampling study over the last 12 months and found three quarters were improperly labelled .

Meanwhile, counterfeit sunscreen made to look like leading brands could cause serious harm – giving no protection against harmful rays from the sun and in some cases containing substances which could cause irritation to the skin.

"Lenses with no UV protection can damage eyes, while people can suffer sunburn or skin irritations by using sunscreen that's ineffective with no way knowing what is in it," commented Staffordshire County Council community safety leader Mike Lawrence.

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