Nearly 18 months ago we blogged about the impending regulation that would undoubtedly be imposed on the sunbed industry as the weight of evidence mounted that ultraviolet light was a carcinogen.

Not long after we published that piece (Teens and sunbed use; the regulation commences), the Brazilian government was the first in the world to take legislation a step further and impose an outright ban on the use of solaria (sunbeds and like devices) for aesthetic use. At the time they were announced, the Brazilian sunbed laws included fines of up to US$860,000 (1.5m reais) for those caught breaching them.

In the US, where sunbeds can mean big revenue for small businesses, the fight has been somewhat more protracted, with lobbyists and individual business owners taking issue with government taxation and regulation. Yet, with the now infamous tanning tax fading from the headlines, other lobby groups are starting to step into the fray as the Northern Hemisphere enters the warmer months.

Most recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a wide ranging policy statement entitled Ultraviolet Radiation: A Hazard to Children and Adolescents (you can read it in full for free here). Amongst other recommendations, the AAP calls on Federal, state, and local governments to “work toward passing legislation to ban minors’ access to tanning salons… [and] work to ensure that such legislation is enforced”.

The AAP is not the first organisation to call for such a ban – the American Academy of Dermatology has been urging for a ban on “the production and sale of indoor tanning equipment for non-medical purposes” for a number of years – but it lends weight to the growing voice of professional, non-dermatological concern at the health risk posed by solaria.

The argument is far from over. Lobby groups in the USA suggest that it should be parents, not governments, who decide whether or not a minor (under 18) be allowed to use the devices, a stance which has been widely rebuked by dermatologists in the media.

For the time being, it looks as though individual state governments have been left to implement their own solaria policies beyond those of the Federal tax, but it’s likely that increased pressure from professional associations will eventually force the next level of regulation in the indoor tanning world.

Image reference

Beax [CC-BY-SA-2.5-pl (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/pl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons