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FDA Restricts Tanning Beds for People Under 18

May 29, 2014 — Tanning beds, sunlamps, and other ultraviolet (UV) lights must now carry a “Black Box” warning about the risk of skin cancer (melanoma) and restrictions against use by people under 18 years of age.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already warned that tanning beds can cause skin cancer, burns, premature signs of skin aging, and long-term eye damage. Although the FDA has been regulating tanning beds for over 30 years, this is the first time they have required a warning label about the risk of cancer.

According to the Safety Warning:

“Sunlamp products, which include tanning beds and tanning booths, emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning experience a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. This risk increases each time they use a sunlamp product.”

The FDA will also re-classify UV lights as Class II, “moderate-risk” devices, which imposes new regulations and restrictions on marketing materials. Newly-approved devices must be “substantially equivalent” to existing products or face higher scrutiny of safety and effectiveness.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can rapidly metastasize to other areas of the body. Since 1975, the incidence of melanoma among white females has tripled — largely due to the growing popularity of tanning beds.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 140,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma every year, and about 9,710 people die from the disease. The risk is highest for people who were exposed to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds at a young age and/or those with a family history.

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