Warnings About Cancer from Tanning Beds to be Debated by FDA

Following a World Health Organization (WHO) decision last year to list tanning beds as known carcinogens, the FDA is considering tougher warning requirements in the United States about the potential risk of cancer from tanning beds.

In March, FDA advisers will hold public hearings on tanning bed safety, where experts will debate the possibility of stricter regulations, increased cancer warning requirements and potential reclassification of tanning beds as a more controlled form of medical device. Currently, tanning beds are classified as Class I medical devices, the same classification as bandages. Reclassifying them as a more tightly controlled medical device would give the FDA more regulatory power over their use.

The hearings come after a study released by WHO in July 2009 that determined that the use of tanning beds before the age of 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by 75%. As a result of the study, WHO reclassified ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds and other sources as a definite carcinogen. Previously, they were considered “probable” carcinogens.

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Some studies have shown that the use of tanning beds by young adults results in eight times the risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer once found mainly in the elderly, but which has increasingly become a problem for younger adults. The American Cancer Society says that melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is diagnosed in about 69,000 Americans each year and causes about 8,650 deaths annually. Less dangerous, but more common, basal and squamous cell carcinomas affect more than one million Americans each year and cause about 2,000 deaths annually.

Both the FDA and the Indoor Tanning Association say that one of the major problems is people who go too often and overexpose themselves to ultraviolet radiation, hoping to get a better tan. The FDA says once a week will give people the same results as going three times per week. However, the ITA says that it does not believe there is any new science which would justify more stringent FDA regulations.

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3 Comments

  • larryMay 28, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    i was addicted to having a tan and being pale and a blonde i would to lay in the sun so i thought the tanning beds were a safe tan now i have had 2 surgeries of melanoma removed and about to have another one and it sickens me to think just cause i layed everyday for 30 minutes a day that im having to suffer now and worry about my health..

  • miguelApril 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

    ref. study realesead by WHO on july 29 on the Lancet. Sorru to tell you thet there is no study publicated, there are only two pages ref the opinion of a periodist. There is no study publicated. ] Again you should read the origins of the information you are recommneding. You are repeating what other cheap publications copy.

  • melinlaJanuary 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I loved the tanning beds when I was in high school and college. When I turned 27 I had my first bought of skin cancer. Now 10 years later my body is covered in scars where the doctor has removed mole after mole because the moles now contain pre cancerous/cancerous cells. I've had moles removed in places where the sun don't shine (if you know what I mean). I wish that all young women would stay[Show More]I loved the tanning beds when I was in high school and college. When I turned 27 I had my first bought of skin cancer. Now 10 years later my body is covered in scars where the doctor has removed mole after mole because the moles now contain pre cancerous/cancerous cells. I've had moles removed in places where the sun don't shine (if you know what I mean). I wish that all young women would stay out of the tanning beds. Trust me when I say, you don't want to have your body covered in scars nor do you want to spend the rest of your life going to the doctor every 4 months to make sure no new moles have shown up or changed in size or color. Please stay out of the tanning beds. Use the tanning lotion or spray tans if you want the sunkissed look.

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