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FDA pushes for warnings on dangers of tanning beds

| Monday, May 6, 2013, 8:48 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Indoor tanning beds would carry warnings about the risk of cancer and be subject to more stringent federal oversight under a proposal by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has regulated tanning beds and sun lamps for more than 30 years, but for the first time, the agency is saying those devices should not be used by people younger than 18. The agency on Monday said it wants that warning to be put on pamphlets, catalogues and websites that promote indoor tanning. Regulators are 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 teenagers in the United States 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.

Physician groups have been urging the 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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