New proposal raises awareness on tanning bed risks

New proposal raises awareness on tanning bed risks

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has submitted a proposal that will require tanning bed manufacturers to get safety approval of their products prior to sale. It would also require those companies to label the beds to advise anyone under the age of 18 not to use them.

The FDA’s move comes from concerns about the safety of the devices and possible links to developing skin cancer.

Dr. Mary E. Maloney, vice president of regulatory policy at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), said in a statement, the risk of developing melanoma, a dangerous and potentially fatal form of skin cancer, increases by 75 percent when exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning.

The regulations would not prohibit use by teens but are designed to raise awareness of the health risks.

According to the AAD, nearly 28 million people, including two million teenagers, use tanning beds each year.

In a statement, FDA commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., said the proposed changes will help address some of the risks associated with tanning devices and provide consumers with clear and consistent information – including a warning that users of these products should screen for skin cancer regularly.

Illinois law restricts children under the age of 14 from indoor tanning and those between 14 and 17 must have parental consent.

Dr. Tony Hampton, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago, says tanning of any kind is never recommended.

“The levels of UVA radiation during indoor tanning are up to three times that of UVA rays that reach the earth from the sun,” he says. “That fact alone should be enough to avoid it altogether.”

There is a 90-day period for comments on this proposal. If the proposal passes, then companies will need to submit a pre-market review of their products, meet performance criteria and provide labeling with clear information on the risks of use.

If approved, companies will have one year to comply and update their products and labeling.

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One Comment

  1. joanne denison June 14, 2013 at 2:23 pm · Reply

    this is utter nonsense. most people in the northern US are deficient in vitamin D3, which is made on the skin. If tanning is the problem (in reasonable amounts– no more than 15 minutes per side or until you turn pink), then why do deaths from cancer go DOWN the further you go south? why does half of all cancer occur in places that never see the sun?
    non organic sun tan lotions full of chemicals, that’s why.
    dump your lotions for all natural, organic oils. RO filter your water and eat small farm organic.
    more stupid ideas propagated by mega pharma and mega med.

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About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.