Skin Cancer Prevention
While many people understand that tanning outside is harmful, they often mistakenly believe that tanning in a salon is a safer alternative to sunbathing. As the rate of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, grows in the United States, I introduced the Tanning Accountability and Notification (TAN) Act, which would require Food and Drug Administration to determine whether the current labeling of indoor tanning beds provides sufficient information about the risks associated with indoor tanning.
The language of the TAN Act was included in the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007, Public Law 110-85 (FDAAA), Section 230 of FDAAA. In a report submitted to Congress by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration in December 2008, FDA is considering amending the warning label requirements for sunlamp products to include specific formatting requirements to more clearly and effectively convey the risks that these devices pose for the development of irreversible damage to the eyes and skin, including skin cancer. In fact, the new label would directly state that “Ultraviolet Radiation causes: Skin Cancer.” Having this definitive statement based on scientific evidence is an important step toward reducing the risks of these devices with the end goal of reducing the rising rates of skin cancer.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), almost 30 million Americans visit indoor tanning salons each year- 70% of visitors are women between the ages of 16 and 49. More than 25% of teen girls have used tanning salons three or more times in their lives. One of the reported side effects of indoor tanning is an elevated risk of skin cancer. According to the AAD, regular tanning bed use was associated with a 55% increase in the risk of developing melanoma, especially in women between the ages of 20 and 29. As a result, dermatologists have concluded that indoor tanning is not safe. FDA and numerous leading United States and international health care organizations have expressed concerns that the consuming public is not aware that indoor tanning devices emit ultraviolet radiation that is similar to and sometimes more powerful than UV radiation emitted by the sun. It is clear that Americans are not aware that indoor tanning is dangerous.