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Tanning Beds Should No Longer Be Classified in Same Risk Category as Tongue Depressors

Two Years Have Passed Since FDA Advisory Panel Recommended Reclassification of Tanning Beds

December 13, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 13, 2012 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expedite its review of the current tanning bed classification at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, and Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, sent a letter today urging HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to expedite reclassification of tanning beds, as recommend by an FDA panel in 2010, to better reflect the health dangers they pose to individuals who use them.

The letter points out the urgency of the issue given that use of tanning beds greatly increases the risk of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, as well as squamous and basal cell carcinomas. Nearly two years have passed since an FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended that the FDA reclassify tanning beds and impose greater control over their manufacture and distribution.

“Indoor tanning beds are not safe and not appropriately regulated,” write Hansen and Lichtenfeld. “Sunlamps used for tanning are currently regulated by FDA as Class I medical devices. This classification is reserved for the lowest risk products such as tongue depressors and bandages and is inappropriate for a product that has been elevated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to its highest cancer risk category – ‘carcinogenic to humans.’”

For the full text of the letter, please visit:

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Lauren Walens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5711
Email: or

#FDA #tanningbed #melanoma #skincancer #HHS #Sebelius #cancer #ACSCAN

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Phone: (202) 585-3278

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ACS CAN is the nation's leading cancer advocacy organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority. More

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