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FDA plans warning labels for tanning beds

It’s been three years since an advisory committee convened by the US Food and Drug Administration recommended that teens be barred from tanning salons or at least obtain parental consent — and now the FDA is finally moving to toughen its rules on tanning beds.

Instead of prohibiting teens from tanning in salons, the FDA is proposing to slap warning labels on the sun lamps stating that young people should not use the devices.

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“It provides a warning on the consequences,” the FDA said, namely that “there is a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer,” in those who have used a tanning bed once, and that risk rises with each use.

That’s likely because the doses of UV rays emitted from tanning units may be to 10 to 15 times higher than that of the midday summer sun, according to the FDA.

The Indoor Tanning Association, an industry group that represents tanning salon owners, said in a statement last Tuesday that it is “concerned that the proposed requirements will burden our members with addition[al] unnecessary governmental costs in an already difficult economic climate.”

A handful of states, including Vermont, New York, and New Jersey, have banned minors from using tanning beds, and Massachusetts is currently considering a bill, though the legislation has been put on hold for years.

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