You Can Comment on The FDA's Proposal for Tighter Restrictions on Tanning Beds

Health Writer

On December 18, 2015 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced two proposals to make using tanning beds safer. For 90 days after the proposal date, the FDA is accepting comments from the public on the proposals. A link to where you can comment is added after the description of each proposal.

Proposal 1: Restricting the use of tanning beds to those age 18 and overAccording to the American Academy of Dermatology, using indoor tanning beds can increase your chance of developing melanoma, an often deadly form of skin cancer, by 59 percent. In addition, the effects of UV exposure are cumulative, which means that the earlier a person is exposed, the higher the chances of developing melanoma. The FDA wants to restrict the use of indoor tanning beds to those who are age 18 and older. A number of states have already banned those under 18 from using an indoor tanning facility.

In addition, this proposal requires tighter standards on making sure those who use indoor tanning beds are aware of the possible dangers. The proposal states that anyone (18 and over) using a indoor tanning bed sign an acknowledgement certification that they have been advised of the risks (including sunburn) before their first visit. They would need to resign the risk certification every six months.

If you want to comment, either for or against this proposal, you can do so at regulations.gov.

_Proposal 2: Improving overall safety of sunlamps and indoor tanning facilities _

The second proposal from the FDA is geared toward the manufacturers and suppliers of indoor tanning. The proposal calls for:

  • Warnings on devices that are easier to read and more prominent* Installing a** panic button** or emergency shut off switch* ** Limiting the amount of light** that is allowed with protective eyewear
  • Improving labeling on replacement light bulbs to avoid putting in the wrong light bulbs which can cause burns
  • Prohibiting modifications, such as using stronger light bulbs in devices without having the device recertified with the FDA

Besides the risk of melanoma, there is a risk of injury from the use of indoor tanning equipment. One study reported that there are more than 3,300 injuries reported each year from tanning beds. Injuries include skin burns, fainting, bruising and skin discolorations. These are injuries seen in emergency rooms; there are probably many more less severe injuries.

The FDA believes these precautions can help adults who choose to use sunlamps and indoor tanning facilities make better decisions about the risks and benefits of these devices and be more confident of the safety of these devices.

If you would like to comment on this proposal, you can do so at regulations.gov.

The ability to comment on these proposals will close on March 21, 2016.

For more information on the dangers of indoor tanning beds:

The Dangers of Tanning Beds Go Beyond Skin Cancer

_The Dangers of Tanning Beds: Five Fast Facts _

Think Twice Before Going to The Tanning Bed This Winter

More Scientific Evidence Linking Tanning Bed Use with Melanoma

Tanning Bed Myths