Two law firms -- Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP Abraham Fruchter & Twersky LLP -- are litigating coordinated class actions, alleging systematic fraud, false advertising and persistently misleading claims that exaggerate the ability of sunscreens to protect against the sun and reduce the risk of cancer and other skin ailments.

The suits state that manufacturers are making deliberately fraudulent and misleading claims on their labels and websites and in their advertising and seeks an injunction on the claims, compensation for consumers and other remedies, including a public education program concerning sun protection paid for by the industry.

SPF designations, the suits say, apply only to protection from UVB rays, but manufacturers use it to imply a similar level of UVA protection, which SPF does not in fact provide or measure. The FDA accepts SPF standards for UVB, but there is no standard yet in the US to measure UVA protection. Both UVA and UVB pose health threats. The suits also note that the 'waterproof' designation is deceptive because all sunscreen products lose efficacy when immersed in water and there is no standard for measuring their efficacy against UVA rays.

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