Tanning beds need increased regulations

Tanning beds are as popular as ever among college students despite the mounting evidence that they pose serious health risks. With apartments near USF advertising free access to indoor tanning, it’s likely that students are using tanning beds too often.

Recent evidence has’prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to call for more visible warnings on tanning beds. The FDA plans to hold a public hearing in March to discuss stricter regulations.

‘We don’t recommend using them at all, but we know people do use them so we want to make them as low-risk as possible,’ FDA ultraviolet radiation specialist Sharon Miller said to The Associated Press.

Increased regulation of’tanning beds is an obvious necessity. They expose people to the same UV rays that come from the sun – which are known to cause skin cancer’- yet the FDA lists tanning beds as ‘Class-I devices,’ a low-risk category that includes’Band-Aids and latex gloves.

It’s a common misconception that indoor tanning is safer than outdoor. The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) denies there’s any new evidence to suggest the need for increased FDA regulation. The only risk is to people who overdo it, ITA President Dan Humiston said to the AP.

The FDA should follow the example of the cancer division of the World Health Organization (WHO), which last year listed tanning beds as definitive cancer causers. ‘Use of sunbeds before the age of 35 is associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma,’ according to the WHO Web site.

The WHO recommends that tanning beds or sunlamps should only be used under’medical supervision and should be banned from use by people under 18 years old.

Young people are most at risk for skin cancer and most likely to use tanning beds. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 70 percent of indoor tanners are females between the ages of 16 and 29.

There are 132,000 cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and over 2 million cases of other skin’cancer worldwide each year, and it accounts for one in every three cancers diagnosed,’according to the WHO.

Just one session in a tanning bed significantly increases one’s chance of developing cancer, according to the AAD.

The FDA needs to heavily regulate the indoor tanning industry. Since it poses such serious health risks, use of’sunbeds should be controlled if not banned.