Pallone Applauds Increased Safety Measures for Tanning Beds
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released proposed rules to better inform adult consumers of the health risks associated with indoor tanning, which is known to contribute to skin cancer, including melanoma. These new, critical safety measures will also prevent minors, who are more susceptible to the effects of exposure to UV radiation, from using indoor tanning beds. Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), who has repeatedly stressed that more information on tanning beds be made available to the public, applauded FDA’s latest proposal.
“Consumers deserve to know the serious health risks associated with the products that they use,” said Pallone. “With the damage caused by indoor tanning beds well documented, we have a responsibility to protect the public, especially young people, from these otherwise preventable cancers. I commend FDA for moving forward with these rules that will help consumers make decisions based on accurate and truthful information and will, ultimately, save lives.”
This past June, Pallone, along with Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), wrote a letter to FDA urging the agency to publish these proposed rules in order to protect public health.
The first proposed rule would only allow consumers 18 or older to use indoor tanning beds. Before their first session tanning session and every six months thereafter, all adult users would also have to sign a form acknowledging that they have been informed of the health risks posed by indoor tanning beds
The second proposed rule would require sunlamp manufacturers and tanning facilities to take additional measures to improve the overall safety of these devices, including:
• Making warnings easier to read and more prominent on the device;
• Requiring an emergency shut off switch, or “panic button”;
• Improving eye safety by adding requirements that would limit the amount of light allowed through protective eyewear;
• Improving labeling on replacement bulbs so tanning facility operators can make sure they are using the proper replacement bulbs, reducing the risk of accidental burns; and
• Prohibiting dangerous device modifications, like installing stronger bulbs, without re-certifying and re-identifying the device with the FDA.
These proposed rules also follow a February 2012 investigative report, released by Pallone and his colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee, that found evidence of false and misleading health information provided to teenagers by many in the indoor tanning industry minimizing the dangerous effects of indoor tanning. For example, 90 percent of the salons contacted for this report stated that indoor tanning did not pose a health risk.