Date Published: 26 February 2014

Canada to require stronger labelling requirements for tanning beds

Health News from Canada
Health News from Canada.

The Canadian federal government has finalized new regulations that require stronger health warning labels to be displayed on sunbed ('tanning beds') and related equipment.

Health Canada increased the labelling requirements for sunbeds in order to more clearly inform users about health risks associated with use of these devices. The new regulations will come into force on 7 May 2014. After that date all tanning equipment, such as subeds, that is sold, leased or imported into Canada must display a warning label with the following message: "Not recommended for use by those under 18 years of age."

The required label also features a black bar warning stating: "Tanning equipment can cause cancer" together with a bulleted list of other health risks associated with skin tanning. These mention several risk factors, including skin type, photosensitivity and history of skin cancer.

Although Health Canada regulates the sale, lease and import of tanning beds under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, regulation of tanning bed use in commercial establishments, including age restrictions, is undertaken by the Canadian provinces and territories. Most provinces/territories in the country currently either regulate, or have expressed an intention to regulate, access to tanning equipment by minors.

The Canadian government statement announcing the new sunbed warning regulations includes a list of "Quick Facts" that might be of interest and/or concern to users of sunbeds and other tanning equipment. They include:

  • According to the World Health Organization, the risk of developing skin melanoma increases by 75% when use of tanning beds starts before the age of 35.
  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada. Melanoma is its deadliest form.
  • While mortality rates (from melanoma) have remained stable, killing one in five diagnosed, the incidence of melanoma has increased threefold between 1972 and 2006.
  • In 2013, approximately 6,000 Canadians were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 1050 died from it.
  • Exposure to ultraviolet A and B radiation from tanning can cause sunburn, damage to your eyes, and other health effects, including an increased risk of skin cancer.
  • In 2011, James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake in Manitoba, tabled a Private Members Bill in the House of Commons to raise awareness about the harms associated with artificial tanning.

Pamela Fralick, President and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society said:

"There is no such thing as a safe or healthy tan, indoors or out. The Canadian Cancer Society supports the government's move to stricter regulation of the indoor tanning industry - stronger labelling and clear health warning messages on tanning beds constitute important steps in reducing the number of Canadians diagnosed with skin cancer each year."

Canadian politicians whose statements appeared on the 'Health Canada' website's announcement of this new regulation include:

" Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from tanning can cause sunburns, damage to your eyes and increase the risk of skin cancer. Our Government has made it mandatory that all tanning beds sold, leased or imported into Canada must now be properly labelled to warn Canadians, especially youth, about the risks of using a tanning bed." Rona Ambrose, Canadian Minister of Health.

James Bezan, Canadian Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake, who tabled a Private Members Bill in the Canadian House of Commons raising awareness about the harms associated with artificial tanning back in 2011 stated that:

"My wife is a melanoma cancer survivor and both of us used tanning beds in the past. I'm pleased that, as a result of the Government of Canada's strengthened regulations, Canadians will now be able to make better informed decisions about their health."

Source: Health Canada (Government Info)

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