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Should The FDA Impose An Age Restriction On Tanning Beds?

Tanning Bed
Image via Pixabay

On Friday, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposal regarding the use of tanning beds that would restrict it to those who are 18 years of age and older.

The FDA’s proposed regulation would also require manufacturers of tanning beds — devices that emit ultraviolet radiation to tan with cosmetic intent — to make their warning labels clearer.

Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s acting commissioner, indicated in a statement that the proposed regulation “is intended to help protect young people from a known and preventable cause of skin cancer and other harms,” which seems logical in light of the CDC reported rise in the number melanoma cases in the United States.

Melanoma is not only the deadliest, but also the most common form of skin cancer and according to the CDC, its rates have more than doubled over the course of the last few decades.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the risk of melanoma increases with each tanning session.

Those who are 18 and older would be required to sign a risk acknowledgement form prior to their first session. They’d also have to sign another every six months acknowledging that they are aware of the health risks associated with sunbeds — such as a 59% increase in melanoma risk.

CNN reports that according to Dr. Vasum Peiris with the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, tanning bed exposure is anywhere from 10 to 15 times the level of intensity offered by the midday sun.

Tanning beds were classified as carcinogenic in 2009 by the World Health Organization — a notion that there are those who are too familiar with, such as Tawny Willoughby who was diagnosed with skin cancer when she was just 21 years old.

Tawny was a frequent tanner in high school, going four to five times a week, and by the time she was just 21 years old, she had been diagnosed with melanoma.

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