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SENATE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATES OZONE DEPLETION LINK TO SKIN CANCER

SENATE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATES OZONE DEPLETION LINK TO SKIN CANCER
 WASHINGTON, June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- An expert on sun protection today told a Congressional hearing that mounting evidence that UV radiation causes long-term, clinically significant damage "points to the growing need for highly protective sunscreen products."
 Testifying before the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Consumer and Environmental Affairs of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Dr. John M. Clayton, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs of Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, told the hearing that "as sun exposure increases, the need for more complete sun protection also increases." The regular use of high protection products has been demonstrated in scientific studies to reduce the chances of certain types of skin cancer by as much as 78 percent.
 Clayton said that because of potential greater exposure to UV radiation, Schering-Plough and other sunscreen manufacturers have devoted considerable resources to the development of highly protective, broad spectrum sunscreens. These new sunscreens block significantly more UVA radiation, which penetrates the skin at deeper levels and contributes to premature aging, wrinkling and certain forms of cancer.
 "Sunscreens incorporating combinations of UV absorbers with more than 30 SPF block significantly more UVA," Clayton said. "This would support conclusions that high SPF broad spectrum sunscreens are not only appropriate for many people but highly desirable and medically justified," he added.
 Protecting At-Risk Populations
 Clayton reported that higher SPF sunscreens will be especially valuable in protecting at-risk populations, such as children. Because the greatest amount of lifetime sun exposure is experienced during childhood, higher SPF broad spectrum sunscreens are recommended to help protect children from the consequences of long- term overexposure to UV radiation. In this area, Schering-Plough markets three brands at the 15, 30 and 45 SPF levels.
 Clayton also addressed the issue of immune system damage of UV radiation, stating that research demonstrates that higher SPF products provide "meaningful protection" against immune suppression. "We strongly believe that further advances in more protective broad spectrum sunscreens will be the best way to provide more complete protection from immunosuppression in the years to come," he said.
 Education Needed: What UVB, UVA Sunblocks and Sunscreens Mean
 Clayton said that Schering-Plough has developed ongoing programs with the American Cancer Society, Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology and other interested groups to educate the public about the importance of sun protection. "We can't be casual about the potential adverse effects of increased UV radiation. A common sense approach of providing people with the facts about sun protection is the best strategy for motivating consumers to take action," he explained.
 At the hearing, Clayton described the difference in UV rays and the potential adverse effects as follows:
 -- UVB rays: Often called the sun's burning rays, UVB rays are more intense during the summer months, at high altitudes and close to the equator. These are the rays most commonly associated with sun burns and skin cancer, although they do promote premature aging and wrinkling.
 -- UVA rays: Maintaining a relatively constant strength throughout the year, UVA rays penetrate the skin at deeper levels and are thus less noticeably absorbed. Though they may cause some tanning, UVA rays are more likely to contribute to premature aging and wrinkling, adverse skin reactions (especially with photosensitive drugs) and certain forms of skin cancer.
 How Do We Know How Much UV and SPF Will Block?
 Clayton also explained the SPF system, a measure of sunburn protection. Under this system, a person who sunburns in 10 minutes without sunscreen would be protected for longer periods with a sunscreen, as illustrated in the following chart:
 SPF No. Time in Sun
 SPF 4 40 minutes
 SPF 15 2 hours 30 minutes
 SPF 30 5 hours
 SPF 45 7 hours 30 minutes
 Schering-Plough HealthCare Products is the largest U.S. manufacturer of sun products, including Coppertone, Water Babies, Sport, Shade, and Tropical Blend. The company is based in Liberty Corner, N.J., and is a division of Schering-Plough Corp. (NYSE: SGP)
 -0- 6/5/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Malinowski or Marie-Claude Stockl of Hill and Knowlton for Schering-Plough, 212-697-5600; or Doug Petkus of Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, 908-604-1971/
 (SGP) CO: Schering-Plough HealthCare Products; Schering-Plough
 Corporation ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA MTC SU:


KD-DC -- DC007 -- 7390 06/05/92 10:44 EDT
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Date:Jun 5, 1992
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