Tanning Bed Debate Heads To Congress

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A new survey from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reveals an astonishing number of Caucasian teens and young women are not being warned about the health risks associated with using tanning beds. The problem is there’s nothing legally wrong with this-at least not yet anyway-but, the AAD is hoping to change all that.

According to the AAD, studies have proven that UV radiation from indoor tanning beds increases a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent. The survey, on the other hand, indicated that 43 percent of tanning bed users said they have never been warned about tanning bed dangers from salon employees, and 30 percent reported they were unaware of warning labels on tanning beds. Younger tanners, ages 14 to 17, were less likely than tanners ages 18 to 22 to be aware of warning labels. In addition, the teenage demographic was more than twice as likely to consider tanning beds safer than sun exposure and more than three times likely to think that tanning bed use does not cause cancer.

Even though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization classify UV radiation from tanning devices in the same category as cigarettes, the FDA still considers tanning beds as a Class I medical device, which requires minimal regulation, meaning tanning salon employees are not required to disclose any dangers to users. The AAD is hoping to improve regulations with The Tanning Bed Cancer and Control Act, which was just introduced by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Charlie Dent (R-Pa). A congressional briefing will be held to discuss the results of the AAD survey, the dangers of tanning bed use and the need for stricter regulation.

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