The agency has been reviewing data from several studies on a potential connection between retinyl palmitate, a common sunscreen additive, and cases of skin cancer since July but has yet to issue any rulings or guidelines, said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
"With the recent reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and a common chemical found in sunscreens, the FDA must act now to protect consumers," he said at a news conference and in a later statement. "Summer is here, people are soaking up the sun and the FDA needs to immediately provide guidance and reassurance to consumers," he said.
The FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research and the National Toxicology Program have conducted studies that suggest there may be a connection between skin cancer and retinyl palmitate, Schumer said in calling for the agency to provide its evaluation of the data and recommendations immediately.
He also pressed the FDA for a time line for new sunscreen regulations.
Retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A derivative, is found in hundreds of the most popular sunscreen products.
One study found that tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in retinyl palmitate-laced cream than those treated with a cream that did not contain it, Schumer's office said.