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FDA Advisers Urge Stricter Regulation of Tanning Beds
Date:3/26/2010

Citing skin-cancer risk, experts recommend potential ban on use by people under 18, among other measures

FRIDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- A potential ban on the use of tanning beds by people under 18 was among the recommendations Thursday by U.S. health advisers who said more measures are needed to protect consumers -- especially teens -- from skin-cancer risks posed by the devices.

The panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration also recommended that the agency add bolder warning labels to tanning beds, change how they are regulated by the FDA, and require parental consent, the Associated Press reported.

"Given the absence of any demonstrated benefit, I think it's an obligation for us to ban artificial tanning for those under 18," said panelist Dr. Michael Olding.

Some panel members said the scientific evidence is not clear enough to warrant a total ban.

The General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel -- part of the FDA's Medical Devices Advisory Committee -- was charged with examining the latest data on the risks of ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure from tanning beds. According to the agency, there is a growing body of evidence that shows an association between skin cancer and the use of tanning lamps.

More than 30 states already have regulations governing tanning salons, including several that require parental consent, the AP said. But the new FDA requirements would apply nationally. While the FDA isn't required to follow the advice of its advisory panels, it typically does so.

"We are hoping the FDA will reclassify tanning beds," Dr. Allan Halpern, vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, said prior to Thursday's meeting.

Tanning beds are classified as class I medical devices, "which means these cancer-causing machines are in the same category as tongue depressors and elastic bandages and subject to few regulations and little oversight," the
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