Tanning beds have continued to increase in popularity in recent years, despite numerous warnings of the associated dangers. Perhaps one reason that the previous “warnings” were not taken seriously is because tanning beds are classified only as Class 1 “low-risk” medical devices, the same classification used for Band-Aids.  The Food and Drug Administration has just proposed changing that classification to Class 2, placing tanning beds within the same level as CT scanners with regard to safety requirements.  This means that tanning beds would require safety reviews before being released in the market to ensure that the ultraviolet radiation emitted is at the safest level possible.  The new classification would also require tanning salons to provide better warnings to customers and would perhaps impose age limits.  Research shows that one tanning session alone can increase the risk for skin cancer by 74%, as tanning beds emit ten times as much ultraviolet light as the sun, and melanoma is the most common cancer for people between the ages of 25 and 29.  If the FDA proposal is approved, the changes will not take effect for another two years.

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