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US regulations on sunbeds are set to be strengthened

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 12 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1990
  1. Caroline White
  1. 1London

    Regulations on the use and management of sunbeds in the United States look set to be tightened after the deliberations of an advisory panel to the drugs and devices regulator last month.

    The General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Medical Devices Advisory Committee has recommended that sunbeds be upgraded from their current class I (minimal potential harm) classification. But feasibility issues mean that they are unlikely to be upgraded to the most serious level of harm (class III), the panel acknowledged.

    The panel also recommended imposing minimum age and skin type restrictions on people allowed to use sunbeds and to restrict their use among people with a genetic or family risk of skin cancer. Better training for and regulatory scrutiny of sunbed operators were also needed, the panel concluded.

    A spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation, which submitted evidence to the panel, said that the current age limit for sunbed use varied by state. If sunbeds were reclassified as “class II with restrictions,” that would enable the FDA to impose a blanket ban on people under the age of 18, she said.

    Other proposals included strengthening the requirements for protective eyewear and setting up a register of users and obliging them to give informed consent before opting for tanning sessions.

    Better information for the public and more prominent warnings about the health risks associated with tanning were also needed, the panel concluded, and it added that these might need to be further strengthened for sunbeds bought for home use.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1990


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