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FDA Aims to Add Tanning Bed Warning Labels

Update Date: May 07, 2013 01:00 PM EDT
Tanning Beds
FDA has reclassified tanning beds and sun lamps as higher-risk, class II devices. (Photo : Wiki Commons)

Although health advocates and experts have warned consumers about the dangers of tanning beds, people still continue to lie under high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in order to achieve their idea of a perfect tan. Tanning beds have been linked to skin cancers and skin damage, yet, people do not seem to be worried as they choose tanning over their own health. Due to the fact that people are still ignoring the dangers of tanning beds, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it plans on added warning labels in the attempt to dissuade young people from picking up this habit.

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"Using indoor tanning beds can damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer," Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the commissioner of the FDA said in the statement.  "The FDA's proposed changes will help address some of the risks associated with sunlamp products and provide consumes with clear and consistent information."

The American Academy of Dermatology stated that people who frequent tanning beds and expose themselves to UV radiation increase their risk of developing the deadliest type of skin cancer, melanoma, by 75 percent. Due to the dangers tied to indoor tanning, the FDA proposed this past Monday to reclassify sunlamp products so that these items would need to inform people of the possible dangers in using them. The sunlamp products would be reclassified from a class I low risk device to a class II moderate risk device. If approved, the new warning labels would not prevent people under 18-years-old from using it, but they would present labels of the possible consequences of using these products.

Back in 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that tanning beds should be considered a human carcinogen. In April 2012, a study conducted by Mayo Clinic found that between 1970 and 2009, melanoma cases increased eight times in young women and four times in young men. These men and women were in the age range of 18 to 39. This study stated that tanning beds could expose the skin to seven times the dose of UV radiation in comparison to the sun.

The FDA has opened up a 90-day period for people to comment on its new proposal before a final order is issued. If the proposal is approved, tanning-bed companies will have up to a year to follow the new rules. 

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