New York City knows Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s penchant for new health initiatives too well. So it’s no surprise that he’s making one last effort to regulate something else before his term ends. His latest target: tanning salons.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who begin indoor tanning before 35 years old have a 75 percent higher chance of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and the leading cause of death from skin disease.
“There is no doubt that tanning increases the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer,” Daniel Kass, NYC deputy health commissioner for environmental health, told the NY Post. “We want to make sure kids are not using these salons.”
The plan, which will be submitted to the Board of Health on Tuesday, would include a number of new regulations, including:
· A requirement that the Health Department inspect tanning salons, ultraviolet machines, and timers at least once every two years.
· Find and shut down unlicensed salons.
· Require ultraviolet equipment operators to undergo training.
· Limit salon use to those ages 17 and over.
· Educate the public about the dangers of tanning salons and ultraviolet radiation — this campaign would take place at the actual salons.
About 900 New York City residents suffered from melanoma in 2012, Kass told the Post, and another 100 died from the skin cancer as well.
A recent study found that 25 to 30 percent of white women, ages 18-34, had used an indoor tanning bed at least once in the previous year. Fifteen percent of those women also reported using the beds frequently. Concerns go beyond cancer too, since it’s been shown that frequent salon attendance could be an addiction. Another recent study found that 26 out of 178 subjects with basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, continued to go back to the salon after being diagnosed with cancer. Of those who returned, 58 percent showed signs of tanning dependence.
Bloomberg appointed all the Department of Health’s members, so it’s expected that the law will pass. The Health Department believes that having more resources than the state will make regulation of salons more effective.