NYC Health Department To Look At New Proposed Guidelines For Tanning Salons


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City’s Department of Health is set to propose new rules Tuesday for tanning salon operators.

Under the proposal, the health department would assume oversight of tanning salons from the state, which issues their permit. Officials said the local health agency has more resources and manpower to monitor salons than its state counterpart.

In addition, the health department would:

  • Require operators of UV equipment to undergo training
  • Crack down on unlicensed operators
  • Inspect tanning salons, UV machines and timers, at least once every two years
  • Enforce the law that bars adolescents under 17 from tanning shops
  • Launch a public education campaign warning of the dangers of too much UV radiation

It’s all part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s latest and possibly last health initiatives before leaving office. The mayor had already launched offensives against smoking, trans-fats, salt and sugary sodas.

“Tell you what the problems are, tell you how you can avoid getting sick or worse and then do what you want,” Bloomberg said Monday.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the city is working on blunt signs with graphic images warning of the heightened chances of cancer after using a tanning machine.

“We know exposure to these tanning devices increases your risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent, and we know that the more often you go, the greater your risk of developing skin cancer. So we recommend people not use these devices, but certainly we want people to understand that the more they use them, the more dangerous it is,” Farley said.

“There’s no such thing as a safe dose in an indoor tanning bed, there’s no such thing as a safe tan,” Farley added. “We all know that we’re going to be outside and we’re going to have some level of risk from that, but having people go indoors to a machine to get a tan over a short period of time is something that really is unnecessarily dangerous.”

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and skin specialists say exposure to ultraviolet rays is risky, whether it’s indoors or out.

“We frequently ask people the most dangerous activity in the summer. Most don’t realize it’s going out in the sun,” said Dr. Richard Bezozo.

The American Suntanning Association, the nation’s largest association of professional suntanning facilities, voiced its support Tuesday for Bloomberg’s proposal.

“Our industry has always supported efforts to reduce overexposure and risk. Like many things, UV exposure is all about moderation and responsibility. Salon owners should be held accountable for following regulations and not allow a few bad actors to sully the industry,” American Suntanning Association Advisor Joseph Levy said in a statement. “We agree with the Mayor that there should be additional regulation to crack down on anyone acting irresponsibly and American Suntanning Association salons are happy to work with the Mayor on this initiative.”

After a series of public hearings, the new rules could go into effect next spring.

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