Informing the Public About the Risks of Indoor Tanning

Feb 16, 2006
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC - As the rate of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, grows in the United States, Members of Congress are pushing for full public awareness of the risks associated with indoor tanning. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) today introduced the Tanning Accountability and Notification (TAN) Act (H.R. 4767), 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.

“For Americans to practice ‘safe sun’, the public should be given adequate warnings and total information,” said Maloney. “Many people mistakenly believe that indoor tanning is a safer alternative than tanning outside in the sun. I hope our bill will help Americans make educated choices about preserving the health of their skin.”

“The federal government should make sure that Americans are fully-informed about activities that affect their health. Indoor tanning is a health issue for all Americans, but particularly for women, since 70 percent of indoor tanners are girls and women.”

“My Florida constituents are exposed to the harsh sun every day and are aware of the dangers of long term sun exposure and the threat of skin cancer,” said Rep. Brown-Waite. “People who use tanning beds, however, may not have that same level of heightened awareness. With the growth in use of tanning beds throughout the nation, I would hope that the FDA takes appropriate measures to ensure their warning labels are up to date and appropriate for the level of ultra violet light that people are exposed to when they go to a tanning bed. I appreciate Congresswoman Maloney’s efforts to raise awareness of this important issue and am glad to join her as an original co-sponsor of the legislation.”

The National Institutes of Health has identified broad spectrum ultra-violet radiation produced by artificial light sources as a known carcinogen.

The TAN Act would require FDA to conduct consumer testing to determine the appropriateness of the current labeling requirements for indoor tanning beds. It also would require FDA to hold public hearings, solicit comments from the public and report to Congress the determinations it makes in the study.

Statistics

  • The American Cancer Society estimates that this year, 111,900 Americans will be stricken with melanoma, which is associated with excessive ultra-violet light exposure.
  • At current rates, a person’s lifetime risk of invasive melanoma is 1 in 60. For comparison, last year that number was 1 in 62 for invasive melanoma.
  • For any kind of melanoma, a person’s lifetime risk is now 1 in 32. Last year it was 1 in 34.
  • One American dies of melanoma every 63 minutes.

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