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FDA Issues Stronger Warning for Tanning Beds

Jun 6, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strengthened warnings to the public about the risk of melanoma associated with the use of tanning booth and tanning beds.

The American Academy of Dermatology and the World Health Organization warn that indoor tanning heightens the risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer – by 59 percent, and the risk goes up with each use, according to the FDA. The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that nearly 13,000 people die each year from skin cancers, with about 9,700 from melanoma. The ACS predicts melanoma will account for more than 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2014.

Because the effects of UV radiation add up over time, children and teenagers who are exposed to indoor UV radiation are at greater risk for skin and eye damage. Studies published in the journal Pediatrics say that melanoma is the second most common cancer in women in their twenties and the third most common cancer in men in that age group.  Experts believe that the increased use of sunlamp products by teenagers and young adults is one reason for the increase. The research in Pediatrics shows that UV radiation emitted by high-pressure sunlamps may be10 to 15 times higher than that of the midday sun. The World Health Organization has classified all UV radiation – indoor and outdoor – as carcinogenic (cancer causing).

The FDA reclassified sunlamp products from Class I (low risk) to Class II (moderate risk) and these products must carry a number of warnings: they are not to be used by anyone under age 18; they are not to be used if skin lesions or open wounds are present; and they should not be used by anyone who has had skin cancer or has a family history of skin cancer.  People repeatedly exposed to UV radiation should be regularly examined for skin cancer, the FDA advises.

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