ASA News

ASA Responds To Surgeon General’s UV Report

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The U.S. Acting Surgeon General today issued “A Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer” – a 112-page report that specifically targets reducing sunbed usage as one of its action points. 

The American Suntanning Association issued the following press statement to the national media (See link below):

We suggest you refer reporters to this news link.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association has been lobbying the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General’s office for more than five years to encourage the Surgeon General to issue a report on indoor tanning. Last July, Dr. Boris Lushniak, a dermatologist, became acting surgeon general. Within three weeks he posted in the U.S. Federal Register that he was collecting information for such a report. Today’s publication is a culmination of that process.

This story is likely to generate negative press in the short-term — most likely among those who wish to compare UV exposure to tobacco, which was the subject of the famous 1964 Surgeon General’s report. ASA is working to re-establish balance in how the science is reported and to develop bi-partisan support for responsible suncare messaging moving forward.

Statement on yesterday’s FDA announcement

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yesterday, the FDA issued its final order reclassifying tanning beds from low-risk (class I) to moderate-risk (class II) devices. The order primarily impacts bed manufacturers, in that: (1) it requires that manufacturers include language on tanning beds that explicitly warns against use by persons under the age of 18 years; and (2) certain marketing materials promoting tanning beds must carry additional warning language and contraindications, including “Persons repeatedly exposed to UV radiation should be regularly evaluated for skin cancer.”

Click here to access the FDA order.

While we are disappointed that the FDA did not actively include our industry in this process before issuing the order, it does not come as a complete surprise as it basically implements what the FDA proposed in May 2013. If your employees or customers ask, let them know we remain committed to responsible access to UV exposure for the millions of Americans who choose to tan.

There is nothing you need to do at the present time in your salons. The bed manufacturers have roughly 15 months before the warning labels are required. We’ll keep you updated on any more developments.

Please direct any questions to

American Suntanning Association

‘The Doctors’ Errs on Staph Infection Claim

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A short segment on an episode of the TV program “The Doctors” which aired Wednesday, March 12 attempted to suggest that a 23-year-old woman contracted a MRSA bacterial staph infection from visiting a tanning salon in California.

The woman – identified only as Brittany in the segment – did not identify any tanning salon, but claimed, “One day, after I went tanning, when I got home, I noticed I had a small little pimple on my stomach. I was thinking that it was just going to go away, but it didn’t.” Two weeks later the bump had grown and a friend who worked at another tanning salon allegedly told her she should go to the emergency room.

According to the segment, Britney’s doctor did not tell her that MRSA can be transmitted on just about any surface. “The doctor asked me if I had been in a gym or a tanning salon or anywhere that could have that type of infection in there,” Brittany said.

From there, the segment turned into an attack on tanning – despite never even discussing how the tanning unit was isolated as the source.

According to the University of Chicago MRSA Research Center and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States, with one-quarter to one-third of the population carrying dormant staph bacteria. MRSA is a type of staph resistant to most antibiotics, with about 1 percent of the population carrying the bacteria.

According to Medicine.Net, “There are two major ways people become infected with MRSA. The first is physical contact with someone who is either infected or is a carrier (people who are not infected but are colonized with the bacteria on their body) of MRSA. The second way is for people to physically contact MRSA on any objects such as door handles, floors, sinks, or towels that have been touched by a MRSA-infected person or carrier. Normal skin tissue in people usually does not allow MRSA infection to develop; however, if there are cuts, abrasions, or other skin flaws such as psoriasis (a chronic inflammatory skin disease with dry patches, redness, and scaly skin), MRSA may proliferate. Many otherwise healthy individuals, especially children and young adults, do not notice small skin imperfections or scrapes and may be lax in taking precautions about skin contacts.

MRSA can be spread by contact with doorknobs and even doctors’ stethoscopes – a study published this month in Mayo Clinics Proceedings found that stethoscopes are common carriers of MRSA and are dirtier than doctors’ hands.

If asked by clients, please let them know there is no evidence that bacterial infection can be spread on the surface of a tanning unit that has been sanitized with products designed to clean tanning beds between uses. Any media inquiries should be directed to

Professional Indoor Tanning Industry Supports Mayor Bloomberg’s Initiative on Increased Oversight and Compliance

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Industry Seeks to Minimize Overexposure, Supports Responsible Tanning

NEW YORK (Oct. 15, 2013) – The professional indoor tanning salon community supports initial reports of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiative to increase compliance with New York City rules for professional tanning facilities.

The American Suntanning Association – the nation’s largest association of professional suntanning facilities – reached out to the Mayor’s office today to support his initiative. The tanning community has long been a proponent of enforcing existing laws and is already executing many of the precautions laid out in press accounts of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal. The salon community will support any city-wide effort to increase compliance with the standards already in place in professional salons.

“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.

“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,” Levy said.

According to initial media reports, the Mayor’s plan includes the following, all of which the ASA supports:

• Require the health department to inspect tanning salons.
• Crack down on unlicensed operators.
• Require operators of UV equipment to undergo training. Enforce the law that bars
adolescents under 17 from frequenting tanning shops.
• Launch a public education campaign about the dangers of too much UV exposure.

For more information about ASA visit

FDA Proposes New Standards for Sunbeds

Friday, May 10, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced a proposal to change pre-market manufacturing standards for sunbeds, including a suggestion that sunbed labels add a statement urging young people not to use sunbeds.

FDA’s proposal comes three years after a non-binding FDA advisory panel urged the agency to seek changes, including reclassifying sunlamp products as Class II medical device instead of a Class I device. The reclassification would require manufacturers to change the way they introduce new sunlamp products — a change that, by itself, does not change the end-consumer experience with sunbeds.

“If the order is finalized, manufacturers would have to submit a pre-market notification (510(k)) to the FDA for these devices, which are currently exempt from any pre-market review,” the FDA said in a statement. “Manufacturers would have to show that their products have met certain performance testing requirements, address certain product design characteristics and provide comprehensive labeling that presents consumers with clear information on the risks of use. The order proposes to include a contraindication against use on people under 18 years old, and the labeling would have to include a warning that frequent users of sunlamp products should be regularly screened for skin cancer.”

Sunbeds already include clear warning labels — labels the sunbed market worked with FDA to create. In a 2002 meeting with FDA, the sunbed community and FDA constructively agreed on changes to that warning label spurred by a 1999 request that sunbed rules be reviewed.

FDA has not involved the American Suntanning Association in development of the current proposal.

“The professional sunbed community has not had any input in this preliminary proposal thus far. We remain dedicated to sunburn prevention and look forward to working with the FDA to improve consumer protection and to assure that all information regarding indoor tanning is in accordance with the science,” the ASA said in a statement released to the media 30 minutes after Monday’s press conference.

The ASA will work with other industry groups to participate in the process with the FDA constructively.

The FDA will take comments on the proposed order for 90 days.

To read the FDA’s press release click here.

To read the FDA’s proposal, click here.

To read current FDA regulations, click here.

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