On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new measures to limit the use of sunlamp products and ultraviolet lamps in teenagers and adults. The agency wrote in a statement that the new reforms are looking to enhance consumer safety by generating a more effective communication regarding the harms that the products could cause.

Among the new rules, tanning beds will be prohibited for minors. On the other hand, adults will need to sign a document every six months where they will affirm they understand the heightened risk of skin cancer and other damages that tanning treatments may cause.

The FDA announced new measures to limit the use of sunlamp products and ultraviolet lamps in teenagers and adults. Credit: Theodysseyonline.com

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), declared that each year in the US, over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people.

Over the last three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Just in 2015, approximately 74,000 men and women were diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. From that number, about 9,940 will die, which is about 13 percent of the diagnosed people, SCF stated.

It seems that risks of using tanning beds would also be reduced since they will update the technical requirements to reflect science advancements and studies. FDA said they will incorporate certain elements from the International Electrotechnical Commission International Standard.

New proposed rules would be applied after a period in which people will be informed about them. FDA calculates that with the new rules, the demand of the tanning industry would be reduced, and earnings from the industry would be cut by $500 million to $825 million per year over the next decade.

A study published in JAMA Dermatology declared that the number of skin cancer cases due to tanning is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking. Results would appear to show that just in the U.S. 419,254 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning, since 35% of adults and 55% of college students have tanned.

FDA said the new rules seek to protect young people from skin cancer, burns, premature wrinkles, age spots and age diseases.

“We know that adolescents are a primarily vulnerable population. We want to make sure they are protected from this, and that’s why we’re taking the actions we are today,” said Vasum Peiris, chief medical officer of pediatrics and special populations in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, to the Washington Post.

The agency explained that the harms of exposure to UV radiation are cumulative so actions, in order to protect people since they are young, must be taken. There are more than 34,000 establishments that offer tanning services in the nation. FDA proposed that they need to include panic buttons in their installations; operators need to make warnings about the risks; improve eye safety in people and uninstall stronger bulbs.  

“The FDA understands that some adults may decide to continue to use sunlamp products. These proposed rules are meant to help adults make their decisions based on truthful information and to ensure manufacturers and tanning facilities take additional steps to improve the safety of these devices,” Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s acting commissioner, said.

Source: FDA