New Requirements for Indoor Tanning Facilities Designed to Help Reduce Hazards

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 21, 2010)-- State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., announced that, as of today, businesses providing indoor tanning services are subject to new requirements intended to reduce the potential hazards of indoor tanning.

The requirements are being implemented in connection with Article 35-A of New York State Public Health Law adopted by the State Legislature.

Health risks associated with tanning are well documented in scientific literature and include skin cancer, burns, injury to the skin and eyes, premature aging of the skin, and allergic reactions.

To protect health and minimize risks associated with indoor tanning, businesses with indoor tanning facilities are now subject to the following requirements:

  • Operators must obtain and post operating permits.
  • Operators must take steps to ensure that children under age 14 do not use indoor tanning facilities.
  • Operators must ensure that children between the ages of 14 to 18 have signed (in person) parental consent prior to the children using the facilities.
  • Persons 18 and over must be provided information on the dangers of indoor tanning, must sign statements indicating they are aware of the hazards associated with indoor tanning, and receive adequate instruction in the operation and use of tanning devices.
  • Operators must ensure that every patron has adequate protective eyewear for use with ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices. For patrons without such eyewear, the operator must provide a set of protective eyewear at no additional charge.
  • Operators must ensure that all UV devices are adequately labeled, operated in accordance with manufacturers and federal Food and Drug Administration instructions, and properly maintained.

"UV radiation produced by indoor tanning devices can cause the same damage to the skin as natural sunlight," said Commissioner Daines. "Because the harmful effects of UV exposure are cumulative over time, indoor tanning devices pose the highest risk to children and young adults by increasing their overall lifetime exposure."

"These new regulations represent real steps forward toward limiting use of cancer-causing indoor tanning facilities by youth," said Peter Slocum, Vice President of Advocacy, American Cancer Society of NY & NJ. "So often young people and their parents are unaware of how deadly indoor tanning can be. The State Health Department has shown leadership in issuing these new regulations, and for maximum benefit lawmakers must enact legislation during the upcoming session that bans tanning to minors altogether."

Annually nearly 30 million people, including 2.3 million teens, tan indoors in the U.S. Each year in New York State, an estimated 3,700 people are diagnosed with melanoma. More than one million new cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer also occur in the U.S. each year.

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer raised the warning classification of UV emitting tanning devices to the highest level of cancer risk – Group 1 "carcinogenic to humans," based on scientific findings which concluded that individuals who used indoor tanning devices before the age of 30 increase their risk of melanoma by 75 percent. UV radiation now shares the same class of cancer causing agents as arsenic, asbestos, benzene, dioxin, mustard gas, tobacco smoke, and vinyl chloride.

In addition to risk for skin cancer, exposure to the deep penetrating rays of sunlamps and sun beds is also associated with damage to the blood vessels of the skin and eyes, burned corneas and other eye diseases. Exposure to UV causes visible damage that results in leathery and prematurely aged skin, wrinkles, brown age spots, and skin blotching.

More information on the new regulations, including how operators may obtain permits to operate tanning facilities, is available on the New York State Department of Health's Web site at http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/indoors/tanning/.