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FDA Panel Weighs New Restrictions on Tanning Beds
Date:3/25/2010

Some people -- including Halpern -- would like to see tanning beds banned completely. "At a minimum we would like to see them banned for people under the age of 18," he said.

But Indoor Tanning Association spokesman Overstreet begged to differ, citing studies that he said show that exposure to UV radiation may actually protect people from developing melanoma.

There are risks from exposure to UV radiation, he said, "but there are also benefits involved with being exposed to UV light. There's no doubt about that," he added.

"Without UV light you cannot live," Overstreet said. "How much you need varies from person-to-person, from skin type to skin type -- like anything else in life, pursue it with moderation."

A bill introduced in Congress on Jan. 26, the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act, also aims to put new restrictions on tanning bed use.

"Tanning beds are the cigarettes of our time: cancer-causing and poorly regulated," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), one of the chief sponsors of the bill, said in a statement.

Currently, the FDA and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) each regulate tanning beds and sunlamps. The FDA regulates labeling of the devices and the FTC regulates advertising claims about the devices.

The FDA currently requires tanning salons to direct all customers to wear protective eye goggles and advises consumers to limit their exposure to tanning devices, and avoid them if you have certain medical conditions such as lupus or diabetes, or are susceptible to cold sores.

In addition, the FDA requires labels on these devices that warn of skin aging, skin cancer and eye injury. In 2007, the FDA began a review of these warnings and is considering strengthening its warnings about the risk of skin cancer and eye damage, according to the agency.

More information

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