By Emily Miller
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently discussing a proposed order, regarding the labeling and reclassification of indoor tanning beds. If finalized, a label warning minors not to use the device will be required.
The proposed order does not prohibit the use of indoor tanning beds to those under the age of 18, but will serve as a guided warning. The FDA also wants to add the warning to any promotional material a tanning salon may use.
This government action is directed at preventing future cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from occurring. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) over 28 million people regularly tan indoors, primarily aged 16-29 years old.
Recent studies by the AAD have shown that the risk of melanoma is 75 percent higher in people who have been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning, and increases with every use. Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer among young adults
“Using indoor tanning beds can damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The FDA’s proposed changes will help address some of the risks associated with sunlamps products and provide consumers with clear and consistent information.”
Under this proposed order, sunlamp products will now be classified as a moderate risk device (class II) instead of a low risk device (class I). This new change will allow the FDA to review the safety and design of all tanning beds before manufactures can sell them.
“Just like with regular sunlight, there are risks and there are benefits,” John Overstreet, associate director of the Indoor Tanning Association, says in the article. “We’ve worked cooperatively with the Food and Drug Administration ever since they started regulating the industry.”
The Indoor Tanning Association is willing to support any changes that would improve its customers’ safety and satisfaction. But, they are concerned that all of these changes will add additional costs in an already difficult economic climate.
The proposed order was released on May 6, 2013. It was given a 90-day window by the FDA for all comments before formulating a final decision. Even though a specific time frame wasn’t released, it was marked as a priority.
Studies by the International Agency for Research for Cancer have shown that those who use tanning beds before age 35 are 75 percent are more likely to develop melanoma. Individuals who suffer from this cancer are frequently forced to pay higher premiums for health and life insurance coverage.