Earlier this month, a group of state legislators introduced a youth tanning bed safety bill (AB 241 / SB 261) that aims to help parents better protect their teenagers from the long-term health risks associated with indoor tanning, including skin cancers and serious eye damage. The bill would require parental or guardian consent for teenagers to use tanning beds.
From skin cancer to immune system impairment and severe damage to the external and internal structures of the eye and eyelids, the health hazards from UV radiation overexposure are clear. UV radiation is a proven human carcinogen, and the risk of future skin cancer increases significantly when adolescents intentionally expose themselves to artificial sources of UV rays. In fact, according to a recent per reviewed study, indoor tanning can increase user risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 58% and basal cell carcinoma by 24%. In addition, using tanning beds before age 20 can increase the chances of developing melanoma by 47%, and the risk increases with extensive use.
The legislation, which is supported by the Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Dermatological Society, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Public Health Association, includes the following two main provisions:
On May 18, Assembly Bill 241 received a public hearing before the Assembly Consumer protection Committee.
- Requires 16- and 17-year-olds to provide written authorization from a parent or guardian before using indoor tanning equipment (current law prohibits adolescents under 16 from using tanning beds); and
- Prohibits tanning bed operators from advertising or promoting indoor tanning as free from risk or that it offers medical or health benefits.