FDA to bar teens, children from indoor tanning - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FDA to bar teens, children from indoor tanning

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BY MAGGIE FOX, NBC News, and WRCB Staff

(NBC News) - The Food and Drug Administration proposed unprecedented new rules Friday that would bar anyone under 18 from using a sunlamp or indoor tanning device.

The proposed new rules also would require anyone over 18 who uses a tanning salon or other product to sign a certification saying they understand the risks — which include skin cancer and severe burns.

And the FDA, which regulates the tanning beds and sunlamps as medical devices, said it would force manufacturers to make already required warning labels more prominent, add a "panic" button to turn the lamp off, and make other safety modifications.

"The FDA understands that some adults may decide to continue to use sunlamp products," continued acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff.

"These proposed rules are meant to help adults make their decisions based on truthful information and to ensure manufacturers and tanning facilities take additional steps to improve the safety of these devices."

Tanning beds send hundreds of Americans to emergency rooms each year with burns, including to their eyes.

"The risk of developing melanoma increases by 59 percent for individuals who have been exposed to UV (ultraviolet) radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use," the American Academy of Dermatology said in welcoming the proposed rules.

"Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and young women, and melanoma is increasing faster in young women 15-29 years old than in young men of the same age."

The public has 90 days to comment on the proposals. 

Tennessee and Georgia state laws already require some restrictions on the use of tanning beds by children and teenagers.

In Tennessee, anyone under the age of 14 is required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must give consent for the child to use a tanning bed. Anyone ages 14 - 17 must have in person consent from a parent or guardian or bring in notarized consent.

Georgia law bans anyone under the age of 14 from using a tanning bed. Anyone ages 14 - 17 must have in person consent from a parent or guardian.

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