Skin cancer continues to be the most common form of cancer in the United States, and approximately 3.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
People that use tanning beds on a regular basis are predisposed to developing skin cancer at some stage in their lives, as the beds emit high-powered ultraviolet radiation that severely damages the skin cells and makes them more vulnerable to ongoing damage, and then skin cancer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel wants to impose new restrictions on the use of tanning beds and tanning devices, especially for children and teens. The General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel, a part of the FDA’s Medical Devices Advisory Committee, met in mid-March to discuss the possibility of increasing restrictions of the use of tanning beds across the United States.
Allan Halpern, Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation, reports that there is significant evidence linking tanning beds to melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and that many young women who use tanning beds do develop melanoma at some stage of their lives.
Currently, the only restrictions on using tanning beds are to wear goggles while tanning. Some panelists want to ban the use of tanning beds for those under 18 completely, while others want stricter guidelines and restrictions on artificial tanning, either by requiring parental consent, or reclassifying tanning beds as a “Class 2” device that would require special labeling requirements and must meet certain performance standards.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) based in France, has already reclassified tanning beds to a high-cancer risk category, and has stated that the UV rays emitted by the beds are carcinogenic to humans. Some European countries have already imposed limits on the use of tanning beds for individuals under 18 years of age, and some are taking steps to ban the use of UV beds and devices for teens altogether.