Ban Teens from Indoor Tanning, Says FDA

December 18, 2015
Amy Jacob

There have long been safety concerns regarding indoor- and self-tanning, as more than 3,000 annual US emergency room visits, on average, are linked to indoor tanning.

There have long been safety concerns regarding indoor- and self-tanning, as more than 3,000 annual US emergency room visits, on average, are linked to indoor tanning.

Due to these safety concerns, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Friday a proposed rule to ban minors from using tanning beds.

According to the proposed ban, parents of teens below the age of 18 wishing to tan would be required to sign a form acknowledging they completely understand the risks associated with tanning before entering their first tanning session (and every six months after).

The FDA also suggested sunbed manufacturers should clarify the language used in safety warnings.

In 2013, the FDA recommended a complete ban of tanning beds for anyone under 18-years-old, but its latest proposal for acknowledgement forms is aligned with recommendations by the International Agency for Research on Cancer — a sub organization of the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to Vasum Peiris, chief medical officer for pediatrics, FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, “Indoor tanning is designed to give you high levels of UV radiation in a short period. The adverse impact of this public health risk on our children is especially concerning.”

The punishment for any salon operator found to violate the new FDA rule would be “seizure of their tanning bed, civil penalties, and even prosecution.”

The rule would not apply to personal use of sun lamps or other at-home tanning devices.

Stephen Ostroff, acting FDA Commissioner, remarked, “Today’s action is intended to help protect young people from a known and preventable cause of skin cancer and other harms. Individuals under 18 are at greatest risk of the adverse health consequences of indoor tanning.”

Commenting on the latest FDA proposal, the Indoor Tanning Association argued that the ultimate decision about whether a teen is allowed to suntan is for their parents to make, not the government.