Tanning beds and sun lamps are targeted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its new proposed legislation that requires those devices to be reclassified as “moderate risk” instead of “low risk”. In addition, they both will be required to have stronger warning labels that people under the age of 18 should not use them.
The FDA wants to change the current classification of tanning beds in order to have stricter standards to regulate them. They claim that faulty equipment has led to patients being burned or exposed to too much radiation, according to Medscape.com.
The FDA states that the proposed guidelines will require premarket approval of tanning beds and sun lamps before they can be sold to the public. Current guidelines do not require this.
However, the suggested revisions are not as strict as the laws in many states. The Environmental Work Group (EWG) states on their website that “the FDA should take a stronger stand against indoor tanning beds, particularly for teens.”
According to EWG, 33 states restrict teen access to tanning beds. Medscape reported that Delaware, New Hampshire and North Dakota ban the use of indoor tanning by anyone under the age of 14 unless needed for medical reasons. Parental consent is needed for those aged 14-18.
The New York Times reported that as of January 2012, California became the first state to ban the use of tanning beds for all people under the age of 18.
The FDA panel did not approve a move to ban tanning beds. The panel was split on the level of strictness the level of classification change, but all agreed a change was needed. Only a few members of the panel suggested an outright ban of tanning beds.
It is curious that the panel did not have more members who wanted stronger laws.
The FDA press release stated that, “according to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, in those who have been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use.”