You can always tell when a technology-challenged member of your extended family has thrown caution to the win to join the masses of us online.
Usually, this manifests itself via email, passing urban legends you received back in 1998. (As an aside, Bill Gates has yet to make good on his promise for my chain email naiveté circa 1997).
One of my favorite emails involves the alarming claim that getting sun block lotion in your child’s eyes can blind them. An excerpt from this viral email breathlessly declares:
I found out for the first time that MANY kids each year lose their sight to waterproof sun screen. It burns the eye and they lose complete sight.!!! I was appalled.
I’m assuming that half of all FDA employees recently discovered the Internet and have been passing this meme around. It’s the only explanation on why the United States Government has declared that there is no such thing “sun block” lotion.
That’s right., the FDA released regulations yesterday stating that manufactures can no longer lay claim to blocking the sun with lotion. The FDA went on to knock down a few more claims:
Manufacturers cannot make claims that sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweatproof, or identify their products as “sunblocks.” Also, sunscreens cannot claim protection immediately on application (for example, “instant protection”) or protection for more than two hours without reapplication, unless they submit data and get approval from FDA.
That seems pretty drastic. I suppose this effort falls within the realm of consumer protection but consider the financial impact it may have:
- Manufacturers will have to entirely redesign and roll out their product marketing and labeling.
- Web pages, Google ads, landing pages and creative online treatments will need to be redone. (See the ads on this search here for example)
- Research and development terminology will have to be revised.
- Marketing research efforts will need to be completely re-tooled.
- Millions will be spent on consumer education.
- Millions more on new competitive approaches.
I imagine a scene next summer, when the regulations take affect, CVS hires a full-time employee for every location to answer questions from the hordes of mothers looking for waterproof sunblock.
“I’m sorry Ma’am, the government says that doesn’t exist.” The nanny state is so easy to lambast but so difficult to thwart.
Some years ago Mark Steyn noted this article describing the first “Safe Text” street in London. Apparently, citizens can’t be left to their own devices to text and walk and so the local powers that be padded all of the mailboxes and lamp posts.
Big Brother is watching you tan.