(Washington, DC) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a regulation today reclassifying sunlamp products, including tanning beds and tanning booths, from Class I devices (low risk) to Class II devices (moderate risk). These products will also be required to carry a visible black-box warning on the device explicitly stating that the sunlamp product should not be used by people under the age of 18.

Representative Dent (PA-15), a founding co-chair of the Congressional Skin Cancer Caucus, has been working for years along with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), also a co-chair of the Skin Cancer Caucus, to effect this change to the FDA’s regulations and the warning label requirement. The FDA had acknowledged tanning bed standards were in need of an update in a 2008 report to Congress.

“This is outstanding news,” Dent enthused. “I am hopeful this long overdue update to tanning bed standards will result in a demonstrable number of fewer cases of melanoma and other skin cancers. It is especially important because it will further increase the awareness of the danger of ultraviolet radiation among young people. Young adults are aware of the dangers of smoking before they light up; they need to know the risk of developing melanoma before they lie down.”

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, those who have been exposed to UV radiation from using tanning beds put themselves at a 59 percent higher risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its classification of the use of UV-emitting tanning devices to Group 1, placing tanning beds alongside tobacco, asbestos and uranium as a definite cause of cancer.

Representative Dent also applauded the fact that Governor Corbett recently signed into law legislation in Pennsylvania sponsored by state Senator Pat Browne (Lehigh) prohibiting the use of indoor tanning facilities by children under the age of 17.

Dent noted that May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. “Between the FDA’s actions and the passage of Senator Browne’s bill in PA it certainly has been a very successful month in advancing this cause.”