The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated tanning beds and sunlamp products for over 30 years, as excessive exposure could be harmful to the body.
On Thursday May 29, 2013, the federal agency issued a final decision regarding the reclassification of sunlamp products and ultraviolet (UV) lamps used in indoor tanning beds.
The FDA’s final order for the reclassification of sunlamp products and UV lamps follows the recommendations from a panel meeting of outside experts convened in March 2010.
With this decision, the federal agency has changed the labeling requirements for these devices from low-risk to moderate-risk devices. They are also requiring the products carry a black box, visible to consumers, that explicitly states the people under age 18 should not use these devices.
In addition to a warning placed on the sunlamp product advising that the product not be used on children under 18, certain marketing materials promoting sunlamp products and UV lamps must carry additional warnings and contraindications, including “Persons repeatedly exposed to UV radiation should be regularly evaluated for skin cancer.”
Sunlamp products, which include tanning beds and tanning booths, emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning experience a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. This risk increases each time an individual uses a sunlamp product.
“The FDA has taken an important step to address the risk to public health from sunlamp products,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Repeated UV exposure from sunlamp products poses a risk of skin cancer for all users—but the highest risk for skin cancer is in young persons under the age of 18 and people with a family history of skin cancer.”
Individuals diagnosed with any forms of skin cancer will also have to face the burden of higher health insurance and life insurance premiums, as they are a greater risk for the company. With this being said, individuals are encouraged to purchase a life insurance policy when they are young and healthy, before any health conditions develop.