People tend to think indoor tanning is extremely dangerous because of major health concerns, primary culprit being skin cancer. “Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States” (Skin Cancer Foundation, Skin Cancer Facts, 2010, ¶ 1). Indoor tanning has been known to put people at a greater risk of acquiring the most common form of skin cancer, melanoma. One form of melanoma kills approximately 7,800 people annually. Although many studies have shown that indoor tanning can lead to skin cancer, those studies haven’t concluded that a major percentage (or even half of that) was because of indoor tanning use. With government regulations enforcing more regulations and guidelines to adhere to, it would seem that indoor tanning is not as dangerous as people perceive it to be.
UVA versus UVB Rays
UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays (the burning rays) are the primary culprit behind health risks. These rays penetrate the outer layer of the skin that causes burning. UVB rays are found in both indoor tanning (bulbs) and outdoor sun exposure (sun rays); 30-40 years ago, due to lack of knowledge of skin damage caused by tanning, there were more UVB bulbs in tanning beds. Today tanning beds manufactured use UVA (Ultraviolet A) bulbs. UVA rays tend to penetrate the skin deeper and are less likely to burn the skin. This is the primary reason for manufacturers using little to no UVB bulbs. Government Regulations
In the past the government regulations were very lenient. Over the past decade, regulations are becoming stricter, and at the present time the government has enforced new taxes. Currently tanning beds are regulated as Class I medical devices, which is a rating used for low risk products (e.g. tongue depressors). By increasing the classifications to a Class II device, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could require tanning bed manufacturers to submit information about new tanning machines before they reach the...