The FDA plans to hold a public hearing March 25 to review the growing body of scientific literature linking UV radiation and skin cancer. The agency is considering stricter regulations, including limits on UV exposure from sun lamps and stronger warning labels.
A bill introduced in Congress on Jan. 26, the "Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act," would do much of the same.
"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.
While endorsing an all-out ban on the sale and use of tanning equipment for non-medical purposes, the AADA said it would support the placement of a "Surgeon General's warning" on all tanning devices.
"Ultimately, this will help educate the millions of Americans who tan each day about the potential cancer risks associated with UV radiation," said AADA President Dr. David M. Pariser.
John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association in Washington, D.C., noted that the FDA already requires protective eyewear and a "pretty explicit warning" that includes risk of skin cancer. Nevertheless, he said the industry would not be averse to making warning labels simpler for consumers to understand.
But Joni A. Mayer, professor of public health at San Diego State University, said the federal measures are not enough to protect teens from skin cancer.
The FDA currently recommends limiting tanning exposure in the first week to no more than three sessions.
But for a study published last September in the Archives of Dermatology, Mayer and colleagues had data collectors posing as fair-skinned 15-year-olds call tanning businesses across the United States. Seventy-one percent of tanning bed operators said they would allow the teens to
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