Federal regulators are making tanning lamp makers feel the heat. Responding to the increased risk of skin cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 29 reclassified sunlamp products and required warnings on the devices as well as on the materials that market them.
The agency's final order moved sunlamp products and those ultraviolet lamps intended for sunlamp use from the low-risk category to the moderate-risk class. The FDA also required that these devices come with a black-box warning clearly stating that they should not be used on anyone younger than 18. Taking this initiative a step further, the FDA has required that certain marketing materials for these products carry additional warning statements and indications for who should not use the lamps.
The FDA proposed stricter public policy in 2013, following a meeting of a panel of experts that convened in 2010. The changes were recommended by the panel, and the FDA received public comments on the proposals.
The FDA summarized the cold hard facts this way in its May 29 statement: "Sunlamp products, which include tanning beds and tanning booths, emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning experience a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. This risk increases each time they use a sunlamp product."
The agency would like to think a public health risk has been harnessed.
"The FDA has taken an important step today to address the risk to public health from sunlamp products," FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health Director Dr. Jeffrey Shuren said. "Repeated UV exposure from sunlamp products poses a risk of skin cancer for all users - but the highest risk for skin cancer is in young persons under the age of 18 and people with a family history of skin cancer."
Melanoma sufferers who used any of these tanning devices, particularly those younger than 18, may benefit from a free consultation from one of the experienced product liability attorneys at Reich & Binstock.