Tuesday, January 19, 2010

FDA to Finally Consider Toughening Stance on Tanning Beds – Will They Have the Courage to Take Action?

The independence of the FDA scientists will be put to the test in March. With the tanning industry lobbyists working hard in just the last several months to fight off proposals for additional taxation, banning teens from using tanning beds in Howard County, Maryland, and the World Health Organization advising against tanning bed usage; they must now focus their attention on the upcoming hearings by the FDA.

Today’s Wall Street Journal featured an article titled “FDA to Toughen Tanning Warning.” Currently, the FDA regulates tanning beds as “Class I devices”, similar to the classification of low-risk medical devices that includes bandages.
In March, the FDA’s scientists will conduct public hearings to consider tougher regulations and warnings. “We don’t recommend using them at all, but we know people do use them so we want to make them as low-risk as possible” says FDA UV radiation specialist Sharon Miller.

You can sign the Skin Cancer Foundation’s petition to encourage the FDA to implement tougher regulations and warnings at:

In December 2009, the World Health Organization came out with a fact sheet titled “Ultraviolet radiation and human health” that is recommended reading for anyone interested in the risks of too much UV exposure or even too little. Under the category of “Protective measures”, the WHO advises to “Avoid sunbeds: use of sunbeds before the age of 35 is associated with a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma. Unless under medical supervision, sunbeds or sunlamps should not be used. WHO recommends banning their use by people under 18 years old.”  The full Fact Sheet can be found at:

Howard County, Maryland is the first U.S. Jurisdiction to actually show the courage to face the tanning bed industry lobbyists and vote unanimously to follow the WHO recommendations and ban tanning bed usage by those under 18 years of age.  See my last post at:

I hope that you will join us in this important conversation with family, friends and civic leaders to help protect the public from the dangers of tanning beds. We need your help to let our public officials know how we feel and encourage legislation to ban tanning beds at least to those under age 18. In addition, patrons of tanning beds, at least 18 years of age, should be required to sign waivers that they understand the risks of tanning prior to using these services.  Tanning bed services should be limited to regulated tanning salons and should not be integrated with other services such as are provided in health clubs.

Let me know how you feel? Your thoughts and ideas are encouraged as well as spreading the word about the dangers of tanning beds. Thank you.


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