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Black Box Warning Labels for Tanning Beds

According to the Boston Globe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that sunlamps used in tanning salons will now require a black box warning label stating that the product should not be used on children under the age of 18.

About the New Tanning Bed Warning Requirements

While the new action does not ban the use of tanning beds by teens, as recommended by an FDA advisory committee in 2010, it does require that the products include warning labels addressing cancer risks and advising tanning bed users to be “regularly evaluated for skin cancer.”

The instructions must be posted in all materials used to promote and market sunlamps and tanning beds, including websites, brochures, and user instructions.

Additionally, the FDA has reclassified the devices as “moderate-risk” in place of “low-risk.” Manufacturers will now be required to demonstrate that their products meet performance testing targets and meet other designated product design elements before the products can be put in tanning salons or sold to consumers.

Increased Risk of Cancer for All Users

“The FDA has taken an important step today to address the risk to public health from sunlamp products. Repeated UV exposure from sunlamp products poses a risk of skin cancer for all users.” – Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health as published by the Boston Globe

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people who use indoor tanning salons, even once, have a 59 percent increased risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The risk is increased with every use as radiation exposure in cumulative.

Additionally, it is estimated that tanning devices result in more than 450,000 cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer and 10,000 melanoma cases every year.

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Texas, and Vermont have all banned minors from using tanning beds, and Massachusetts requires that minors get written parental consent and children under the age for 14 be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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