If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has its way, a proposed order will require that tanning beds carry new warnings about the risk of cancer and be subject to additional regulations.
The order does not prohibit the use of sunlamp products, but if adopted it would:
- Reclassify sunlamps from a low risk device (class I) to a moderate risk device (class II).
- Require that manufacturers submit a pre-market notification to the FDA for these devices. Manufacturers would have to show that their products have met certain performance testing requirements and address certain product design characteristics.
- Require that sunlamps carry a warning that they should not be used on people under 18 years old, and that frequent users of sunlamp products should be regularly screened for skin cancer.
The FDA points to extensive research tying sunlamps to rising rates of skin cancer—especially in young people who use tanning beds regularly.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is a 75% 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.
“Although some people think that a tan gives them a ‘healthy’ glow, any tan is a sign of skin damage,” says Sharon Miller, M.S.E.E., a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientist and international expert on UV radiation and tanning. “Over time, this damage will lead to prematurely aged skin and, in some cases, skin cancer,” she added.