The FDA Proposes Warning Labels for Tanning Beds

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposal to reclassify tanning beds and sunlamps and require warning labels advising young people not to use them.

“Using indoor tanning beds can damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD. “The FDA’s proposed changes will help address some of the risks associated with sunlamp products and provide consumers with clear and consistent information.”

Tanning bed use has been linked with an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, especially if it is started before the age of 30. This is because tanning lamps emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage, and can contribute to skin cancer.

The FDA will take comments on the proposal for 90 days.

If the proposal goes through, it will reclassify tanning beds and sunlamps from low risk to moderate risk devices. It will not make their use illegal for those under age 18, but will require a clear warning label about the risks. The label will also have to say that frequent users of tanning beds and sunlamps should be regularly screened for skin cancer.

In addition, manufacturers would have to show that their products have met certain performance testing requirements and addressed certain product design characteristics. Currently, there is no review process required before sunlamps or tanning beds hit the market.

Learn more about the risks of indoor tanning from the experts at the American Cancer Society.

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