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In a recent move, the FDA unveils plan to keep teens away from tanning salons amid concerns that indoor tanning may boost risk of skin cancer especially in the youth. The agency made its proposal public Dec. 19.
According to the Food and Drug Administration’s new rules, minors would be barred from using indoor tanning devices, while adults would be required to sign a consent form every half a year, stating that they are fully aware of the health consequences indoor tanning may involve.
FDA officials argued that tanning beds and other similar devices boost risk of skin cancer in its most aggressive form – melanoma. The devices are also responsible for severe burns and eye damage, health officials say.
The proposal is open for public comment for 90 days. After this time interval, the agency will be able to make it final. Stephen Ostroff of the FDA argued that the plan was designed to prevent kids and teens from developing skin cancer or other conditions. Ostroff explained that kids and teens are the age group that has the highest risk to develop cancer from indoor tanning.
The agency also plans to ask from tanning products’ makers to revamp their devices to contain additional safety tools such as panic buttons and clear warning signs. Doctors hailed the federal agency’s proposal. Last year, the FDA tried to tackle the issue by requesting clearer warning labels on tanning beds, but apparently that wasn’t enough to discourage teens from using the devices.
FDA investigators reported that 1.6 million teens and kids in the U.S. are customers of tanning salons. According to a recent report, indoor tanning increases risk of melanoma by 59 percent. Nevertheless, most Americans believe that indoor tanning is safer than traditional sunbathing.
The American Cancer Society is confident that the new rules will reduce skin cancer incidence and literally save lives. The American Academy of Pediatrics agreed that indoor tannin is dangerous and sun lamps and tanning beds should by no means be used by minors.
Experts explained that it was a rare sight to see a teen or young adult with melanoma two decades ago. Yet, today it is fairly common to see people in their late teens or young adulthood develop the lethal disease especially if they had been regular customers of tanning salons.
But the Indoor Tanning Assn. objected that the new regulations would financially burden even more its members. The group also said that a kid or teen should be barred from entering a tanning salon by their parents alone, not by the government.
But the FDA argued that, while adults are free to make their own choices since we live in a democracy, minors need protection.
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