Who Needs a Tan Anyway?

The FDA has agreed on increased restrictions on tanning bed use for people under 18

ABC World News (3/25, story 9, 1:20 Muir) reported, “Tonight, there is late word from federal safety officials who are poised to crack down on indoor tanning beds. Twenty-eight million Americans tan indoors every year, and now a panel of experts is so alarmed by the dangers of skin cancer, it’s making some pretty bold warnings.” ABC senior medical editor Richard Besser, MD, explained that “a panel of experts put together by the Food and Drug Administration…reached broad agreement that there need to be increased restrictions on the use of these tanning beds for everyone under 18.”

The CBS Evening News (3/25, story 7, 0:15, Rodriguez) reported that panel’s proposed new restrictions range “from requiring parental consent forms to banning the machines outright.”

But, because tanning beds themselves are not medical devices, the agency can only put restrictions on the lamps the beds use, the Wall Street Journal (3/26, Dooren) reports. In order to do that, the FDA could reclassify the lamps. That would force tanning bed manufacturers to get agency marketing approval of the beds.

According to theAP (3/26, Perrone), “The FDA has regulated sunlamps for more than 20 years, but a recent report by the World Health Organization tied the devices to skin cancer, prompting a call for tougher rules.” In fact, “the WHO analysis showed that” melanoma, “the deadliest form of skin cancer increases 75 percent in people who use tanning beds in their teens and 20s.”