Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is pressing the Food and Drug Administration to issue a regulation that would prohibit teenagers from using tanning beds.
"Every tanning bed will soon have a warning label on it that says it should not be used by those under 18 years old," Maloney said Monday. "If it's not safe, why do we allow it at all?"
Maloney cited a dermatologist, who said melanoma rates increase by 59 percent among people who use tanning bed. She also said melanoma rates are up 800 percent among young women over the last four decades, and said a ban is needed to curb this growth.
Maloney wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that noted tanning beds will soon have to bear warning labels about the risk of skin cancer. But she said the FDA also needs to consider new age restrictions on these devices.
"While the black box warning labels are an important first step, we need continued evaluation to determine whether additional controls are necessary to protect the health of young Americans," she wrote.
Specifically, her letter noted that the FDA's General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel met in 2010, and that most of the panel favored an age restriction for tanning beds. It noted that nine states have already restricted the use of tanning beds for minors.
"I hope you will adopt the recommendations of the panel to consider additional controls on dangerous tanning lamps, including age restrictions," she wrote.
A ban on the use if tanning beds by teenagers is likely to hurt revenues for the industry, which could in turn increase the federal budget deficit. Obamacare created a 10 percent tax on tanning bed serves in order help fund the law — those revenues were expected to total $2.7 billion over a 1o-year period, although revenues so far have not been on pace to hit that target.
Industry groups have said the tax has crushed their businesses and put at risk thousands of U.S. jobs.