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Md. Health Department May Strengthen Tanning Bed Regulations

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The State Health Department is updating the parental consent forms required for minors to use tanning beds.

As Pat Warren reports, they’re looking for parental input.

If your teenager can’t wait for the beach, she may also be talking about getting a base. That’s the practice of getting a tanning bed tan so you don’t look pale on that first day in the sun.

“I started going with friends after school ever single day. It was almost like a competition to see who could get the darkest,” said a cancer survivor who asked to be identified only as Rachel.

One group testified to the risks of overexposure.

“Lucky for me, my dermatologist detected my cancer while it was still in the very early stage so they were able to cut it out of me and that was that. But when I told her how much I was using tanning beds, she freaked out and she told me if I ever wanted to live, I could never step foot in a tanning bed again,” said Rachel.

“I view my role as a mother and a tan salon owner almost one and the same,” said Jessica Hilger.

Lawmakers also heard from salon owners.

“The same passion and care and effort that I put into educating my clients and educating myself on the decisions for my son are identical,” Hilger said.

While the public policy debate on tanning for minors continues in the General Assembly, the State Health Department is updating the consent form parents are required to sign for a minor to use a tanning bed.

“We know more about the risks. We know more about the potential hazards to young people, so we want to simplify the language, make it very clear to people when they come to get a tan what those risks are and what the recommendations are,” said Dr. Clifford Mitchell.

The department is asking for public comments on the consent form, either online or by phone.

The FDA is considering putting a warning on tanning beds and if that happens, the State Health Department will include that on the consent form, too.

To comment, you can email dhmh.envhealth@maryland.gov or click here.

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