Tanning beds are currently considered a Class I Medical Device, but there are some people who believe that that classification isn’t good enough. The American Cancer Society thinks the risks posed by tanning beds are far greater than other similar Class 1 items such as Band-Aids and tongue depressors.
Because of the alleged risks, the organization is urging the Food and Drug Administration to reclassify the items. In they did so, the FDA would gain greater oversight over the tanning beds, which the ACS says pose a heightened cancer risk to users. They point to findings from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that shows a carcinogenic correlation.
Melanoma is seen by the group as being more likely to occur if tanning bed usage is prevalent. They believe that, if an individual begins to use tanning beds before they reach 35, they have a 75% greater chance of contracting melanoma. The risk of squamous carcinomas is said to be slightly lower, at 67%. These findings are somewhat similar to those of the World Health Organization, which found that usage prior to the age of 30 increased the chances of incurring skin cancer by 75%.
Manufacturers of these products insist that no link between usage and cancer exists. The IARC, though, has given tanning beds the same risk classification as mustard gas and arsenic.
There’s no word on if this letter will lead to new regulations, but stay tuned for further developments.