Teens May Soon Be Barred From Tanning Beds

Photo (cc) by Evil Erin

Teens and children will be banned from tanning beds under new regulations proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Calling the proposal an important step “to protect public health,” the FDA wants to prohibit anyone younger than 18 from getting their glow on in tanning salons.

“Today’s action is intended to help protect young people from a known and preventable cause of skin cancer and other harms,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff in a statement. “Individuals under 18 years are at greatest risk of the adverse health consequences of indoor tanning.”

Studies have shown a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in people who have exposed themselves to UV radiation from indoor tanning, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The cancer risk continues to climb with additional tanning sessions.

Despite the known skin cancer dangers associated with tanning beds, more than 1.6 million teens bronze their skin under the unhealthy glow of the tanning bed sunlamps.

The FDA also wants to require adults to sign a risk acknowledgement form before their first tanning session and every six months thereafter. Another proposed rule would force sunlamp manufacturers and tanning salons to require new safety features, including easier to read warning labels, emergency shut-off panic buttons and protective eyewear improvements.

“The FDA understands that some adults may decide to continue to use sunlamp products,” Ostroff acknowledged. “These proposed rules are meant to help adults make their decisions based on truthful information and to ensure manufacturers and tanning facilities take additional steps to improve the safety of these devices.”

The $3 billion U.S. tanning industry could lose between $500 million and $825 million each year for a decade if the proposed restrictions become law, Bloomberg reports.

Several states and Washington, D.C., have implemented tanning bed restrictions for minors.

The proposed rules will be available here for public comment for 90 days beginning Dec. 21. After the public comment period, the FDA could make the rules official.

What do you think of the proposed indoor tanning restrictions? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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