Thursday morning a committee in the state House of Representatives will hear a bill that would for the first time establish safeguards for tanning facilities and restrict the use of such facilities by minors. Despite the known health risks of indoor tanning, the industry is not regulated at all today.
Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, is sponsoring the legislation and testified in support of her bill before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee at 10 a.m.Thursday .
“Washington has the country’s fifth highest rate of melanoma, so we’re dealing with a significant health problem here. A dramatic rise in melanoma, especially among young women, has been seen in recent years,” Darneille said. “Thirty-five states already have tanning safeguards and licensing in place.”
House Bill 1363 would impose sanitation, notification and staff-training standards in tanning facilities and require facilities to be licensed by the Department of Health. Individuals under 18 years of age would be prohibited from using tanning devices without a prescription from a health care professional.
The legislation would require tanning facilities to post signs that caution against overexposure and encourage the use of protective eyewear and other safety measures. Additionally, tanning facilities would not be allowed to advertise that indoor tanning is safe or free from risk. The bill also requires the Department of Health to conduct a public awareness campaign on the dangers of indoor tanning.
To protect public health and safety, the bill outlines reporting procedures for incidents involving injury, and it requires that trained staff be readily available to provide instruction to customers on how to operate the equipment properly.
The notification requirements are similar in intent to food-safety or tobacco warnings, Darneille says.
“There is no such thing as a safe tan,” Darneille said. “Ultraviolet radiation has been classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the World Health Organization classifies tanning beds as a Group One carcinogenic agent—a group that also includes cigarettes, mustard gas and plutonium.”
Despite the risks, people will continue to tan, Darneille says, but her bill is aimed at disclosing the risks and providing for a marginally safer experience.
“Many young people go tanning, and at that age they may not realize the long-term health effects of that UV exposure. This bill simply introduces some basic safeguards and disclosure practices,” said Darneille.
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that women, mostly within the ages of 16 to 29 years, account for almost 70 percent of indoor tanning customers. Their incidence of melanoma is rising faster than that of men in the same age range.Print This Post