“Safe Tans” Feeling the Burn From Potential Tan Ban

Tan lines may be in store for scores of tanning bed teens

By India Chapman
|  Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 PM EDT
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“Safe Tans” Feeling the Burn From Potential Tan Ban

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Tanning beds may soon be off-limits for teens.

With the growing obsession of having a year round artificial sun kissed glow having consumed America's young adults, a new legislative bill could put some unattractive lines in their flawless tans.

Pa. Congressman Charles Dent and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York are trying to gather support for a new bill that will heavily regulate the use of tanning beds.

The Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act, if passed, will expand federal regulations of tanning beds -- limiting the amount of UV rays emitted by tanning beds and the length of time a consumer can be exposed to the harmful radiation.

As of right now the legislators are proposing for an age limit of 18 for those young people that can’t live without that orange glow. The bill is also calling for the Federal Drug Administration to look closer in to the classification of tanning beds.

Currently, tanning beds are listed as a Class I medical device. They share this classification with harmful medical supplies such as Band-Aids, tongue depressors and latex gloves. We see a Safe Band-Aid Use Act or Healthy Latex Gloves Use Coalition in the foreseeable future. A higher classification would make all new and old tanning beds subject to evaluation and surveillance from the FDA.

Supporters of tanning salons are crying foul and playing victim of the big bad government machine.  “This bill is yet another attempt by the AADA and cosmetics industry at dismantling the indoor tanning industry for their own benefit” said Vice President of the International Smart Tan Alliance Joe Levy.

The need for this bill stems recent studies that have tied the increased risk for skin cancer in young men and women and tanning beds. Melanoma is the second most diagnosed type of cancer among women ages 20-29. Also, a person who uses a tanning bed before the age of 30 increases their risk of developing the disease by 75-percent, says the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

“In creating the bill Rep. Maloney and Dent have been duped by the cosmetics industry, chosen to ignore the latest research of UV light and have sided with cosmetic companies who seek to keep all of America out of the sun and covered with sun screen”, said Levy -- the spirited voice of the indoor tanning market .

So it’s the cosmetics companies that are causing cancer and not the UV rays making our youth’s skin look cheap leather handbags?

Maybe its just semantics -- health officials call UV over exposure harmful while the indoor tanning industry calls it a “just right” tan.

No matter what the talking heads want to call it is immaterial right now since the bill is still in its infant stages. But the discussion still raises an all important question: to tan or not to tan.

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