Tanning Beds Skin Cancer Warning Elevates Sun Lamp Risk

Image: Tanning Beds Skin Cancer Warning Elevates Sun Lamp Risk Young man lying in tanning solarium.

Friday, 30 May 2014 11:37 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A tanning beds skin cancer warning was revised Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, which announced that it would be reclassifying sun lamp products from low risk to moderate risk.

The agency also said that before future tanning bed products can be produced, sun lamp manufacturers must first seek approval from the government before they market it in the U.S. In addition, tanning beds must carry a visible warning label against their use in people under the age of 18, Reuters reported.

That cancer risk visible advisory warning must be featured on any instructions, brochures, or marketing materials that promote the product, according to the FDA, which writes in a press release that "indoor tanning heightens the risk of developing melanoma by 59 percent, and the risk goes up with each use."

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According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than 70,000 melanomas are diagnosed yearly with nearly 13,000 people dying each year from skin cancers, of which approximately 9,700 of which are from melanoma.

As for who uses tanning beds most, the ACS says that nearly one in three young white women ages 16-25 engage in indoor tanning each year.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, "the highest risk for skin cancer is in young persons under the age of 18 and people with a family history of skin cancer."

While UV radiation from outdoor tanning is carcinogenic, the FDA writes that UV radiation from "high pressure sunlamp products may be up to 10 to 15 times higher than that of the midday sun," and penetrates deeper into the skin.

"We applaud the FDA for taking this important first step," Dr. Brett Coldiron, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association, said in a statement. "However, we recognize that there is still more work to be done to protect the public from these dangerous devices."

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