The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed new restrictions for tanning beds that would limit their use to adults 18 and older and force manufacturers to improve their overall safety.
The first proposed rule creating the age limit would require people to sign a risk acknowledgement certification before their first tanning session stating that they have been informed of the health risks associated with the use of sunlamp products. A new certification would be required every six months.
The second rule would force manufacturers and tanning facilities to improve overall safety by making warnings easier to read and more prominent on the device and installing an emergency shut off switch, or “panic button.”
The rule also calls on manufacturers to add new requirements to limit the amount of light allowed through protective eyewear; improve labeling on replacement bulbs so tanning facility operators can ensure they are using the proper replacement bulbs to reduce the risk of accidental burns; and prohibit any modifications that make the device more dangerous, like installing stronger bulbs, without re-certifying and re-identifying the device with the FDA.
The FDA said indoor tanning is a known contributor to skin cancer, including melanoma (its most deadly form), and other skin damage. Citing the Academy of Dermatology, the agency said those who have been exposed to radiation from indoor tanning are 59 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.
“The FDA understands that some adults may decide to continue to use sunlamp products,” said acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff said in a news release.
“These proposed rules are meant to help adults make their decisions based on truthful information and to ensure manufacturers and tanning facilities take additional steps to improve the safety of these devices.”