Children soon may be banned from using tanning beds, under a proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has been championed by the Academy.
The FDA proposed two rules on Dec. 18 that would restrict use of tanning beds to those 18 and older and require additional safety measures from manufacturers of the beds.
“Today’s action is intended to help protect young people from a known and preventable cause of skin cancer and other harms,” acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D., said in a news release. “Individuals under 18 years are at greatest risk of the adverse health consequences of indoor tanning.”
Sixteen states already have similar age restrictions in place, but 1.6 million minors tan indoors annually, according to the FDA. The group also cited research showing there is a 59% greater risk of developing melanoma for people exposed to radiation from tanning beds compared to those not exposed.
In a 2011 policy statement, the Academy called for restricting the use of tanning beds by children under 18. It applauded the FDA proposal.
“The FDA’s action … is part of ensuring a safe environment for every child and adolescent, and sends a loud and clear message: tanning beds are dangerous and should not be used by anyone under age 18,” AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, M.D., M.S., FAAP, said in a statement. “Pediatricians welcome FDA’s action and will continue to urge parents and our young patients to protect their skin from ultraviolet radiation and to avoid tanning beds altogether.”
In addition to the age restriction, the FDA has proposed requiring adults to sign a risk acknowledgement certification before tanning. It also is calling for manufacturers and tanning facilities to make warnings more prominent, install emergency shut-off switches on the beds, improve eye safety and prohibit certain modifications to the beds without recertifying them with the FDA.The public has 90 days to comment on the proposed rules at www.regulations.gov.