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ROBERT L. GOLDEMBERG
Finally, after years of outrage on the part of many of us regarding the mass marketing of furocoumarin-containing sunscreens, the use of Bergapten (derived from the citrus Bergamia fruit) has been outlawed in European cosmetics. The European Commission (EC) has ordered Laboratoires Bergaderm (Paris) not to release into the market their current Bergasol formulations after July 1996. Actual sale to consumers will be banned as of June 1997. This EC order followed adoption of the recently modified EC Cosmetic Directive, Annex II, which prohibits the use of over 1 mg/Kg furocoumarins (including 5-methoxypsoralen) in sun-protection products.
As a result, Bergaderm, whose financial condition has been poor for the past few years, is now essentially in liquidation. Products containing Bergapten have not been distributed in the U.K.; in the U.S.A., use of this ingredient is still legal (since 1987) but in fact is not used here in mass marketed sunscreens. However, certain specialized pharmaceutical companies (such as Elder Pharmaceuticals) sell products containing 5-methoxypsoralen for use in the PUVA treatment of psoriasis. The PUVA treatment consists of sensitizing psoriasis patients via ingestion of 5-methoxy-psoralen, then exposing them to precisely measured doses of UVA radiation, usually in a dermatologist's office. Some years ago, Rakuma Laboratories was asked to …