The FDA Just Proposed Landmark New Restrictions On Indoor Tanning

Photo: Getty Images.
It's no secret that indoor tanning is bad for you — and the earlier you start your sunlamp habit, the worse it is, since the effects of UV radiation exposure compound over a lifetime. To address these concerns, today the FDA proposed two new restrictions on indoor tanning.

The first restriction would limit the use of sunlamp products to people over the age of 18, as well as require adult users to sign a document certifying their awareness of risk prior to their first indoor-tanning session — and then again every six months thereafter. "This is the same measure that was taken many years ago to regulate the sales of tobacco to minors," Darrell Rigel, MD, medical director of Schweiger Dermatology Group, said in a statement to Refinery29. "Melanoma is increasing faster than any other cancer in the U.S., and hopefully actions like these will make an impact to lower these rates in the future."

The FDA also recommended that tanning facilities and sunlamp manufacturers make safety warnings "easier to read and more prominent on the device," incorporate emergency off switches into devices, offer more protective eyewear, label replacement bulbs more clearly so that bulbs aren't too strong, and prohibit modifications to sunlamp products "without re-certifying and re-identifying the device with the FDA."

As a country, we're not very good at staying out of tanning beds. The CDC reports that indoor tanning leads to over 3,000 ER visits a year and has played a role in the dramatic rise of melanoma (the rates of which doubled between 1982 and 2011).

"The FDA understands that some adults may decide to continue to use sunlamp products," acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, MD, said in the FDA's press release. "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."

Hopefully, the rules would also cut down on the nearly 10,000 annual melanoma deaths in the U.S. If that number isn't enough to deter you from visiting a tanning salon, one look at this woman's graphic skin-cancer selfie could put you off the habit for good.
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