06 May 2013

American Academy of Dermatology Association applauds FDA actions to safeguard the public from the dangers of tanning beds

Washington, D.C. - (May 6, 2013) — The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) is pleased that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed changes to its regulation of tanning beds, including a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18.

In recognition of the dangers associated with tanning devices, the FDA announced today that it is proposing to raise the classification for sunlamps and tanning beds to a Class II level which institutes stricter regulations to protect public health. Currently, indoor tanning devices are Class I, the category for items that have minimal potential to cause harm to individuals, such as adhesive bandages and tongue depressors.

“The AADA supports the reclassification of indoor tanning devices and the placement of additional restrictions on indoor tanning. We applaud the FDA for taking this important first step,” said board-certified dermatologist Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, president of the AADA. “However, we recognize that there is still more work to be done to protect the public from these dangerous devices. The AADA urges the FDA to prohibit the use and sale of indoor tanning devices for minors under the age of 18.”

In 2010, the FDA convened an Advisory Panel hearing to examine the current classification and regulations of tanning beds. Representatives from the AADA, leading dermatologists, and researchers testified before the panel highlighting the risks associated with indoor tanning and the need to protect the public from these dangers. Following the hearing, the AADA has been working closely with the FDA, and both state and federal legislatures to protect minors from the dangers of indoor tanning.

With a reclassification, tanning bed and lamp manufacturers will be required to show that their products have met certain performance testing requirements. In addition, tanning bed and lamp manufacturers will be required to label the devices so that they:

  • clearly inform consumers about the risks of using tanning beds;
  • warn frequent users of sunlamps to be regularly screened for skin cancer; and,
  • alert users that tanning lamps are not recommended for people under 18 years old.

Under the proposed changes, manufacturers should provide updated labeling for all products on the market within one year of the FDA’s final order.

“The risk of developing melanoma increases by 75 percent for individuals who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning and the risk increases with each use and 2.3 million teens tan indoors in the United States annually,” said Dr. Elston. “Therefore, restricting teens’ access to indoor tanning is critical to preventing skin cancer. As medical doctors who diagnose and treat skin cancer, dermatologists are committed to reducing its incidence and saving lives. We will continue to communicate to the FDA the need for stricter regulations on the use and sale of indoor tanning devices for minors under the age of 18.”