WASHINGTON – Tanning beds and sun lamps will carry new warnings that they should not be used by anyone under age 18, part of a government action announced Thursday aimed at reducing rising rates of skin cancer linked to the radiation-emitting devices.
The Food and Drug Administration has regulated tanning machines for over 30 years, but for the first time the agency is requiring manufacturers to warn consumers about the cancer risks of indoor tanning.
Makers of sunlamps and related devices must include a prominent label, known as a “black box” warning, on their devices, stating they should not be used by people under 18.
Additionally, manufacturers must provide more warnings about cancer risks in pamphlets, catalogues and websites that promote their products.
Those materials must warn that the devices shouldn’t be used by people who have had skin cancer or have a family history of the disease.
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.
For years, physician groups have urged the U.S. government to take action on tanning beds.