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Pediatricians' Group Backs Ban on Tanning Booth Use by Minors
Date:2/28/2011

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In a new policy statement issued Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said it supports legislation that would bar children from using tanning beds or other artificial tanning devices.

Stricter regulations are currently being mulled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An advisory panel to the FDA has already advocated barring minors from using tanning beds, or at least requiring parental consent. The FDA is not bound to follow the decisions of its advisory panels, but it usually does.

"Pediatricians should support and advocate for legislation to ban access to tanning parlors for children younger than 18 years," the AAP said in its policy statement on ultraviolet radiation, published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

In the article, the AAP noted that "the intensity of ultraviolet-A radiation produced by large, powerful tanning units may be 10 to 15 times higher than that of the midday sun," but nearly a quarter of white teenagers aged 13 to 19 reported at least one visit to a tanning facility, according to one survey.

The AAP also noted that other organizations, including the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Dermatology, already support such a ban.

And in a statement issued Friday, Dr. Thomas Rohrer, secretary of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), said his group "enthusiastically supports" the AAP's advocacy for a ban on tanning bed use by minors.

"Many parents may not be aware that melanoma is the most common skin cancer in children, followed by basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas," Rohrer said in a news release. "In addition, only six severe sunburns in a lifetime increase risk of melanoma by 50 percent."

Apart from the tanning bed recommendation, the AAP also advised that parents begin to educate children about UV protection from an early age, especially k
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