Tougher tanning bed restrictions necessary

Phyllis Kahn calls for progress on tanning legislation next session.

by Phyllis Kahn

I was very interested in the article by Kyle Potter regarding the University of Minnesota study on the riskiness of tanning bed exposure, particularly to the young. I had just returned from a legislative conference where a talk was presented by a representative of the American Academy of Dermatology drawing the same conclusions. Several states have stronger laws than MinnesotaâÄôs, which only apply to people under age 16 and require in-person signed consent of the parent or guardian on a form disclosing the dangers of tanning. The form must be signed at the time of the minorâÄôs first âÄútreatmentâÄù at the tanning salon. This law was enacted in 1993, as part of a separate chapter of Minnesota law, chapter 325H, which regulates tanning salons in other ways, such as equipment, supervision, use of goggles, warning signs and so on. I will look to strengthen the law by requiring not only parental consent for those under 18, but parental presence. I will also look at beefing up the warning to include the possibility of melanoma and death from advanced stages of the disease. Although Minnesota law has restrictions and proscriptions, there doesnâÄôt seem to be any clear line of authority or appropriate funding for a regulatory agency. Finally, we need a prohibition of advertising implying that tanning devices have positive health benefits or using words such as âÄúsafe tanning,âÄù âÄúno harmful rays,âÄù âÄúno adverse effectâÄù or similar concepts. I hope to make progress on this issue in the next legislative session. Phyllis Kahn is a Minnesota DFL Representative for District 59B, which includes the University of Minnesota campus.