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Health Watch: FDA Wants New Warnings on Tanning Beds

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The FDA is proposing changes for the indoor tanning industry, including how it responds to teenage customers.

The agency wants more oversight of indoor tanning beds, and says people under 18 should not use them.

The FDA is proposing changes that could help reduce cases of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Dermatologists say they're seeing younger melanoma patients.

"So many people are coming in with skin cancers, and it's just way too young to have them," says Dr. Joyce Fox.

An estimated 2.3 million teenagers tan indoors each year. Studies suggest their risk of melanoma is 75 percent higher than those who don't use sun lamps.

Dr. Fox says, "Every additional dose of what we consider a carcinogen – ultraviolet light – is another nail in the coffin."

The proposal also calls for tanning beds to be labeled as "moderate risk" devices.

They already carry warning stickers.

If the FDA proposal is approved, it would require these tanning beds to have new labels aiming at those under 18.

It would have to include warnings to young people about the risks of using the sunlamps and that frequent users should be regularly screened for skin cancer.

A spokesman for the indoor tanning industry says, "We embrace any changes that enhance our customers' safety." but says "...these changes will place unnecessary burdens and governmental costs on these businesses in an already difficult economic climate."

Any new federal regulations won't be announced for at least 90 days.