Tougher Tanning Bed Regulations Being Considered

We have written about the link between <"">tanning beds and skin cancer and recently wrote about tougher cancer warnings under consideration for the devices. Now, CBS is reporting that yesterday – one day prior to a hearing at the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on tanning bed industry regulation – a news conference in Washington, DC was held to discuss the importance of warning consumers about the dangers of theses devices.

Citing science, the Associated Press (AP) recently said that no tan is a safe tan. CBS also noted that tanning beds allegedly emit ultraviolet rays that could lead to cancer.

This summer, U.S. News & World Report stated that, based on information from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), tanning beds increase the odds of developing cancer. Until then, World Health Organization (WHO) experts never confirmed a link between tanning beds and sunlamps to cancer, said U.S. News. The group, a committee that advises the WHO, changed is position after studies revealed that teenagers and young adults increase their risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent when tanning beds are used, said U.S. News.

At the same time, CNN/CBS reported that cancer experts upgraded the risk of tanning beds “to the top of the cancer risk category,” comparing its dangers to those of arsenic and mustard gas. The WHO looked at 20 different studies said CNN/CBS. Where tanning beds had previously been labeled a “likely cause” of skin cancer, they are now considered a “definite” cause, said Newsday. The WHO looked at 20 different studies said CNN/CBS. CBS wrote the WHO now says the devices are, in fact, ‘carcinogenic to humans,” although they remain listed by the FDA as a “low-risk device.”

We recently wrote that the FDA regulates tanning beds as Class I devices, or low-risk medical devices that include, said the AP previously, other so-called low-risk devices such as band-aids. And, while tanning beds contain warning labels, labeling is not obvious and can be overlooked by consumers, pointed out the AP.

Representative Carolyn Maloney, who described tanning beds as so-called “cancer coffins,” has introduced regulation in an effort to regulate the industry and ensure consumers are made aware of the devices’ dangers. “Tanning beds are the cigarettes of our time,” said Maloney, reported CBS.

In addition to melanoma, UVA rays can lead to basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Although melanoma is deadlier—69,000 cases and 8,650 deaths in the United States last year alone—basal and squamous cell carcinomas are dangerous, sometimes deadly, with about 2,000 deaths annually, said the AP earlier this year.

Sharon Miller, an FDA UV radiation specialist, said, We don’t recommend using them at all, quoted the AP. And, according to Dr. David Fisher of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation, “If there was enough (UV) to give you a tan, it had to have triggered DNA damage,” quoted the AP. “The very pathway for tanning is directly biochemically linked to the same pathway of carcinogenesis,” added Fisher.

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