New Bill to Help Prevent Tanning Bed Cancers
New York, NY – On Monday, U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Charlie Dent (R-PA) were joined by Cosmopolitan Magazine Editor-in-Chief Kate White, American Academy of Dermatology member Dr. Ellen Marmur, oncology nurse Rajni Kannan, and melanoma survivor and former Miss Maryland Brittany Lietz Cicala to announce Tuesday’s introduction in Congress of the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act. This bill would expand federal regulation of tanning beds with the aim of limiting the amount of UV rays emitted by tanning beds and the time consumers may be exposed to harmful radiation. More information on the new bill follows.
“Tanning beds are the cigarettes of our time: cancer-causing and poorly
regulated,” said Rep. Maloney. “Those who use start using tanning beds
before the age of 30 have a 75% higher risk of developing melanoma.
Every hour, one American dies of this disease. Through education and
improved regulation, we can save lives. I thank my friend and colleague
Charlie Dent for joining me in introducing this legislation, and I
applaud Kate White and her team at Cosmopolitan and the American
Academy of Dermatology for their ongoing efforts to save Americans from
the needless dangers posed by indoor tanning.”
“Melanoma is a devastating disease that has impacted many American
families, including my own. But it is also a disease that is often
preventable,” said Rep. Dent. “The World Health Organization confirms
that tanning beds are a cause of cancer, and tanning bed users put
themselves at a 75 percent higher risk of developing melanoma. This
legislation will ensure that standards are updated to minimize risk,
and that labels are positioned and worded to send a clear and prominent
message about the real dangers associated with tanning.”
“At Cosmo, we’ve been warning our readers about the dangers of tanning
for years. With research now showing that tanning beds are
carcinogenic, it’s even more important to educate consumers about the
risks and ensure proper safeguards are in place,” said Kate White.
“We’re proud to support Carolyn Maloney’s and Charlie Dent’s important
legislation, which will curb skin cancer rates caused by tanning bed
exposure. We look forward to seeing it signed into law.”
In July 2009, the World Health Organization raised the classification
of the use of UV-emitting tanning devices to Group 1, “carcinogenic to
humans.” This new carcinogen classification placed tanning beds
alongside tobacco, asbestos and uranium as a definite cause of cancer.
Cosmopolitan Magazine has been a longtime advocate for skin safety.
Alarmed by the high rate of skin cancer among young women, Cosmo
launched the “Practice Safe Sun” campaign in 2006, with ongoing
educational editorial and events. Cosmo was also one of the lead
supporters of the Tanning Accountability and Notification (TAN) Act,
which was signed into law in September 2007. Most recently, the
magazine conducted a joint undercover investigation with ABC’s 20/20
into how tanning salons deceive customers about the health risks.
Background on the bill:
On Tuesday, Reps. Maloney and Dent will introduce the Tanning Bed
Cancer Control Act, which will address tanning bed safety by expanding
the FDA’s regulation over tanning beds—ultimately limiting the strength
of the UV rays emitted from the tanning bed’s sunlamp and the amount of
time a consumer may be exposed. The legislation will address two sides
of regulation: device classification (for tanning beds that have yet to
enter the market for consumer use) and performance standards (for
tanning beds that are currently in circulation).
Device Classification: Tanning beds are currently listed by the FDA as
Class I medical devices, characterized as posing minimal potential harm
to users. Other examples of Class I medical devices are Band-Aids,
tongue depressors, breast pumps, and latex gloves. Rep. Maloney’s
legislation will ask the FDA to reexamine the classification of tanning
beds to ensure that it accurately reflects their technology and
associated risks. (Note: a higher classification would make all newly
developed devices subject to pre-market surveillance and evaluation.)
Performance Standards: Performance standards regulate the use of
tanning beds including the strength of the UV rays emitted from the
lamp and the recommended amount of time a consumer should remain in the
tanning bed. The standards that govern tanning bed use have not been
updated since 1985—despite significant advances in technology over the
last 25 years. In a December 2008 report to Congress, the FDA
acknowledged that these standards are in need of a contemporary
assessment. Rep. Maloney’s legislation will empower the FDA to act upon
its own report's suggestion to review and update these performance
standards in the interest of consumer health.