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FDA Orders Warning Labels for Tanning Beds

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Swimsuit season is here and many are looking for that summer glow. Be warned, though, the FDA just upgraded the cancer risk of UV lamps used in tanning salons. It also now requires all beds carry a warning label.

Ask any woman why she lays on a tanning bed and she'll most likely tell you, "Just the color. Trying to look good for the summer," said Crystal Johnson.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, using a tanning bed even once increases your chances of getting the deadliest type of skin cancer by 59 percent.

"That is why I've actually cancelled my membership actually because I just read the study!" said Johnson.

It also got the FDA's attention. The risk for melanoma prompted the agency to change the labeling requirements for tanning beds from low-risk to moderate-risk.

"It's like spending hours in the sun to get that perfect tan, you're spending hours under a lightbulb to get that tan," said Dr. Ross Tobleman, The Medical Director of the Emergency Room at Scott and White Hospital in Round Rock.

Tobleman says if you use a sunlamp under the age of 35, you're more likely to develop melanoma. "In fact melanoma is associated almost exclusively with UVA light," said Tobleman. "So 75 percent of all melanomas are caused by UVA light."

"Cancer is high in my family so definitely something to keep in my mind," said Johnson.

The new FDA requirements stopped just shy of banning tanning bed use for children under the age of 18. However, Texas already does.

"Those are pretty high numbers," said Laura Chorn. "Better safe than sorry."

Chorn owns Austin Organic Tan, a mobile, airbrush tanning business. She says business is booming, "My first year to today my business has increased I would say 50 to 70 percent."

Why do her clients prefer a spray tan over the UV bulbs? "The reason why they are calling me is because they want to stay out of the sun," said Chorn.

Under the new FDA rules, manufacturers will be required to provide updated labeling for all products on the market within 450 days of June 2, 2014.

For more information, visit the American Academy of Dermatology's website.

By Deeda Payton

FDA Orders Warning Labels for Tanning Beds


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