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FDA proposes tanning bed age restrictions

"Intended to help protect young people"

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing rules to prevent the over-use of indoor tanning beds, primarily by young people.

"Today's action is intended to help protect young people from a known and preventable cause of skin cancer and other harms,” said acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D. 

In a release from the FDA -- indoor tanning is known to contribute to skin cancer, including melanoma and other skin damage. However, 1.6 million minors use indoor tanning beds each year.

Those exposed to radiation from indoor tanning are 59% more likely to develop melanoma, compared to those who have never tanned indoors, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

The FDA also said exposure to UV radiation can increase the risk for eye damage later in life.

The FDA issued two proposed rules:

  • Restrict the use of sunlamp products, such as tanning beds, to people 18-years-old and over. Adults using tanning beds would be required to sign an acknowledgement certification, saying they have been informed of the risks to their health that tanning beds could cause.
  • Require tanning bed manufacturers and tanning companies to improve overall safety of devices. This includes making warnings easier to read, installing an emergency shut off switch, improving protective eyewear, and banning stronger bulbs.
  • There are about 18,000 to 19,000 indoor tanning salons and nearly 15,000 to 20,000 other locations that provide indoor tanning services, according to the FDA. The restrictions would apply to all of these facilities.