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Tanning Bed Operators Slow To Register With State Under New Law

Rich Pedroncelli
AP Photo

The Indoor Tanning Regulation Act turned one year old this month, but compliance has been slow. There are an estimated 150,000 tanning facilities in the state, and so far about 178 have registered under the act.

But advocates aren’t too worried at this point.

“The Act commenced on May 6, 2014 and so [tanning facilities] have until May of 2016 to [register],” said Justin Vujevich, a dermatologist and past president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology. “So we expect more salons to register toward the deadline date of 2016.”

The law was enacted in an effort to reduce underage indoor tanning. It prohibits minors under the age of 17 from tanning and requires parental consent for 17-year-olds. The law also requires any establishment with tanning beds to register.

“This includes retail tanning shops, but also gyms, beauty salons, apartment buildings, anywhere they’re offering a tan whether you have to pay for it or it’s for free,” said Jujevich.

The law also requires:

  • Tanning facilities to post certificate of registration that is clearly visible to customers;
  • Tanning facilities to post warning signs describing hazards in a location that is clearly visible to persons entering the establishment;
  • Tanning facilities to obtain a signed warning statement from all customers prior to initial exposure;
  • Tanning equipment must meet federal and state requirements;
  • Operators of tanning equipment must be trained in both the use of the devices and recognition of customer skin types;
  • All required documentation and records must be kept for three years;
  • And the Department of Health must have reasonable access of tanning facilities for inspection of compliance beginning in May of 2016.

Tanning facilities are also required to pay an annual fee.
“The fees depend on how many sunlamp products you have in that facility,” said Vujevich. “For example, it’s $150 for the first two sunlamp products, $300 for a facility that operates more than two sunlamp products, then $20 for each additional tanning bed.”

Tanning facility advocates had argued against the bill, saying they worried how it would impact smaller businesses. Vujevich said it’s a public health issue; the National Cancer Institute said “UV radiation—whether from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used in tanning beds—increases the risk of developing skin cancer.”

There are currently no penalties for non-compliance; enforcement will start in 2016.