FDA Proposes Regulations That Would Keep Minors Out Of Tanning Beds

Image courtesy of Evil Erin

Though a slew of states already have regulations in place that prohibit minors from using indoor tanning beds and sunlamps, the federal government is proposing new rules that would keep anyone under the age of 18 from getting their glow on in tanning salons.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the proposed rules — which will be available for public comment for 90 days starting Dec. 21 — aimed at protecting public health by preventing minors from using sunlamp products, as well as reducing the risk of using indoor tanning tools for adults.

The first proposed rule would restrict the use of sunlamp devices to folks 18 years and older. Any adults going for a tanning session for the first time, as well as every six months afterward, would have to sign a risk acknowledgement certification that says they’re aware of the risks to health that could result from tanning.

The second rule the FDA proposed would require sunlamp manufacturers and tanning facilities to take extra steps to improve the overall safety of these devices, with changes like making warnings easier to read and more prominent on the device; implementing an emergency shut off switch or “panic button”; improving eye safety by adding requirements that would limit the amount of light allowed through protective eyewear, and other measures.

“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 Stephen Ostroff, M.D. “Individuals under 18 years are at greatest risk of the adverse health consequences of indoor tanning.”

Though Ostroff concedes that the FDA understands some adults might still decide to tan indoors, the proposed rules are mean 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.”

As the FDA notes, indoor tanning is a known contributor to skin cancer, including melanoma, and other skin damage. Despite that fact, 1.6 million minors tan inside each year, based on data in the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont ban the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18.

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