FDA Panel Agrees On Increased Restrictions On Tanning Bed Use For People Under 18.

ABC World News (3/25, story 9, 1:20 Muir) reported, “Tonight, there is late word from federal safety officials who are poised to crack down on indoor tanning beds. Twenty-eight million Americans tan indoors every year, and now a panel of experts is so alarmed by the dangers of skin cancer, it’s making some pretty bold warnings.” ABC senior medical editor Richard Besser, MD, explained that “a panel of experts put together by the Food and Drug Administration…reached broad agreement that there need to be increased restrictions on the use of these tanning beds for everyone under 18.”
The CBS Evening News (3/25, story 7, 0:15, Rodriguez) reported that panel’s proposed new restrictions range “from requiring parental consent forms to banning the machines outright.”
But, because tanning beds themselves are not medical devices, the agency can only put restrictions on the lamps the beds use, the Wall Street Journal (3/26, Dooren) reports. In order to do that, the FDA could reclassify the lamps. That would force tanning bed manufacturers to get agency marketing approval of the beds.
According to the AP (3/26, Perrone), “The FDA has regulated sunlamps for more than 20 years, but a recent report by the World Health Organization tied the devices to skin cancer, prompting a call for tougher rules.” In fact, “the WHO analysis showed that” melanoma, “the deadliest form of skin cancer increases 75 percent in people who use tanning beds in their teens and 20s.”
The FDA panel’s agreement in only one effort among others to restrict tanning bed use. For example, HealthDay (3/25, Reinberg) reported that “a bill introduced in Congress on Jan. 26, the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act, also aims to put new restrictions on tanning bed use.” Meanwhile, the FDA is considering “strengthening its warnings” on tanning beds “about the risk of skin cancer and eye damage, according to the agency.”
“The 16-member panel seemed likely to advise the FDA to list tanning beds as Class 2 devices, which require special assurances, such as labeling requirements or mandatory performance standards, that they will not cause harm,” WebMD (3/25, DeNoon) reported. While the “panel did not directly vote on its recommendations,” it “will present a consensus opinion to the” FDA. The Boston Globe (3/25, Cooney) “White Coat Notes” blog and CNN (3/25, Royce-Bartlett) also covered the story.

Be sure to use eye protection when using tanning beds.  For more information on eye health cautions visit youreyesite.com

Follow Dr. Glazier on twitter @eyeinfo

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