The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 8, 2013

FDA wants cancer warnings on tanning beds

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Indoor tanning beds would come with new warnings about the risk of cancer and be subject to more stringent federal oversight under a proposal unveiled Monday by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has regulated tanning beds and sun lamps for over 30 years, but for the first time ever the agency says those devices should not be used by people under age 18. The agency wants that warning on pamphlets, catalogues and websites that promote indoor tanning. And regulators are also proposing that manufacturers meet certain safety and design requirements, including timers and limits on radiation emitted.

The government action is aimed at curbing cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which have been on the rise for about 30 years. An estimated 2.3 million U.S. teenagers tan indoors each year, and melanoma is the second most common form of cancer among young adults, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Recent studies have shown that the risk of melanoma is 75 percent higher in people who have been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning. While most cases are diagnosed in people in their 40s and 50s, the disease is linked to sun exposure at a young age.

Physician groups have been urging the U.S. government to take action on tanning beds for years, citing increases in the number of cases of skin cancer among people in their teens and 20s.

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