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Tanning Bed Repair Recommendations Issued To Reduce Risk of Fires, Smoking

Federal regulators issued a warning Wednesday, calling for tanning salons to follow recommended repairs issued by manufacturers, following reports of smoke and fires occurring in tanning beds.

The FDA issued a safety communication on July 22, reminding owners and operators of tanning beds and booths to perform the recommended maintenance, such as replacing bulbs and air filters, and repairing them with the proper parts.

The warning comes after the FDA received 11 medical device reports of tanning bed fires or smoking that occurred within a two-year period.

The tanning bed fires were linked to improper maintenance such as not replacing bulbs as indicated in the user manual, dirty air filters blocking air flow in the tanning units, units repaired with incompatible parts, and failure to perform servicing and maintenance recommended by the product manufacturer.

Despite one report of smoke occurring while a tanning booth was occupied, there have been no reports of injuries to users.

Tanning beds and booths are sunlamp products with ultraviolet (UV) lamps used to tan indoors without exposing the skin to outdoor sun. However, it does expose the person to UV radiation, which increases a person’s risk of suffering both non-melanoma skin cancer and the most deadly type of skin cancer, melanoma.

Tanning beds are used while lying down and tanning booths are used while standing. The products may include one or more UV lamps with different levels of energy output and radiation at different wavelengths to induce skin tanning.

The agency recommends following manufacturer instructions for maintenance and product repairs to help reduce the risk of electrical fires in the tanning beds or booths. Other recommendations include:

  • Follow the preventive maintenance schedule recommended by the tanning bed or booth manufacturer.
  • Use only lamps, bulbs, and replacement parts recommended in the manufacturer product manual. Each product should have an attached sticker that lists compatible replacement lamps.
  • If the tanning bed or booth is not working properly, do not use it until it is serviced as recommended by the manufacturer.

If a consumer experiences a problem while using a tanning bed or booth, they are urged to report the problem through the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

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