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The Food and Drug Administration is seeking to force adults who go to tanning salons to sign a “risk acknowledgement” form before they are allowed to tan.
The agency has two pending rules targeting tanning salons, one banning teenagers from tanning, and another requiring “prominent” warning labels on tanning machines.
The proposed regulations were released on the Friday before Christmas, and the public comment periods end on March 21. The rules would go into effect 90 days after the final version is published in the Federal Register. The age restriction and risk waiver rule has received more than 4,200 comments so far.
The government is seeking to reduce the number of Americans who indoor tan, hoping that by making adults sign a risk waiver that they will be persuaded to give it up.
Tanning salons would be required to provide the waiver in at least 10-point font and keep the record on file. Customers must sign a new waiver every six months.
“We expect that reading and signing the risk acknowledgement certification would reduce the demand for indoor tanning,” the agency said in an economic analysis of the proposed rule.
“Over time, the user base may fall further because of potential changes in habits induced by the rule,” they said.
The proposed rule states that the form “could counteract any false or misleading information that sunlamp product users may have received regarding the risks of indoor tanning.”
“By making this information available to users in a direct and accessible manner, the certification would better enable consumers to make informed decisions about their use of sunlamp products,” the agency said.
The FDA says indoor tanning is a “known contributor to skin cancer.” Researchers have noted health benefits from tanning, which include “vitamin D production and improved mood.”
The agency said the risk form would “not be overly burdensome” to consumers because they “would need only a brief amount of time to read and sign the form if they choose to proceed.”
The regulation imposing a minimum age requirement and the risk form would cost the indoor tanning industry and estimated $763.4 million to $1.2 billion over 10 years.
The indoor tanning industry has already taken a hit from the Obama administration, which imposed a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning through Obamacare. The tax has been blamed for 81,000 lost jobs, as thousands of tanning salons have shut down since it went into effect.
The agency bemoaned that despite their efforts, Americans could still choose to indoor tan.
“The FDA understands that some adults may decide to continue to use sunlamp products,” said acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff. “These proposed rules are meant to help adults make their decisions based on truthful information and to ensure manufacturers and tanning facilities take additional steps to improve the safety of these devices.”