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Harper Government Introduces Stronger Health Warnings on Tanning Beds

OTTAWA, Feb. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake, MB), announced that Health Canada intends to strengthen its health warnings about the dangers of tanning beds.

"The Harper Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadian families," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Young adults should be concerned about the health risks associated with the use of tanning beds, including skin cancer. Today, we are proposing changes that would require all tanning beds to display a health warning label to remind Canadians of those risks."

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.

The announcement follows the posting of proposed changes to the labelling requirements for tanning equipment under the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (RED) and a call for public comment on the proposal. The proposed changes would require all tanning beds to display a health warning decal with the following messages: "Not recommended for use by those under 18 years of age" "Tanning Equipment Can Cause Cancer", as well as a bulleted list of other health risks associated with tanning.

"My wife is a melanoma cancer survivor and both of us used tanning beds. That is why I am fighting one of the most deadly, but also most preventable cancers," said MP Bezan. "In the last two parliaments I tabled Bills C-497 and C-386 that pushed for stronger regulations on labelling and using tanning equipment. I urge all provinces to follow British Columbia's, Nova Scotia's and Quebec's lead by banning youth from using this dangerous equipment."

Health Canada regulates the sale, lease and import of tanning beds under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act and Regulations. However, the regulation of tanning bed use in commercial establishments, including age restrictions, falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories.  Eight of the 13 provinces/territories in the country currently either regulate, or have expressed an intention to regulate, access to tanning equipment by minors.

"Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, but it's also one of the most preventable," said Pamela Fralick, President and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society. "The Canadian Cancer Society has called upon all levels of government for strict regulation of the indoor tanning industry. Stronger labelling and clearer information about the dangers of tanning beds may reduce the number of young Canadians exposed to this carcinogen, and this is an important step in the right direction."

The 75-day public comment period on Health Canada's draft proposal will be completed in early May 2013 and the proposed regulatory changes are expected to be posted to Canada Gazette, Part II later this year.

 Également disponible en français

February 2013

Health Warning Messages on Tanning Beds

The Minister of Health announced proposed changes to the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (RED) that would strengthen the labelling requirements and the health warning messages for tanning equipment.

The proposed changes to the RED regulations would require a health warning label be attached to all ultraviolet emitting tanning equipment that displays the following messages: "Not recommended for use by those under 18 years of age" and "Tanning Equipment Can Cause Cancer", as well as a bulleted list of other health risks associated with tanning.

Proposed labels :

The proposed labels would replace current tanning equipment warning labels, which display the statement "Ultraviolet radiation"

The World Health Organization reclassified tanning beds as cancer-causing, stating that the risk of developing skin melanoma increases by 75% when use of tanning beds starts before the age of 35. The risks are cumulative, meaning there is an escalating risk with total hours, sessions or years of tanning equipment use.  Age of first use is also a factor: both an increased risk of developing melanoma and early onset of the disease have been linked with age at first use of tanning beds.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada, and melanoma is its deadliest form.  While mortality rates have remained consistent in Canada, killing one in five diagnosed, incidence of melanoma has increased threefold between 1972 and 2006.

The proposed changes would align Health Canada's labelling requirements for tanning beds with emerging Provincial and Territorial regulations regarding the usage of tanning equipment.

Eight of the 13 provinces/territories in the country currently either regulate, or have expressed an intention to regulate, access to tanning equipment by minors and oversight of commercial tanning facilities:

  • In May 2011 Nova Scotia's Tanning Beds Act came into effect, making it illegal to provide access to tanning equipment to anyone under age 19.
  • Manitoba introduced informed parental consent requirements for those under 18, which came into force on June 15, 2012.
  • British Columbia introduced new regulations banning minors (under 18) from accessing tanning beds in tanning facilities effective October 15, 2012.
  • Most recently, Quebec banned the use of tanning beds for those under 18, which came into effect February 11, 2013.
  • Other provinces and territories, including Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and the Northwest Territories have either passed legislation that has yet to come into force or announced their intent to regulate the use of tanning equipment.

Health Canada advises Canadians that there is no such thing as a safe or healthy tan, whether under the sun or in a tanning bed.

The most up-to-date scientific evidence shows that exposure to ultraviolet A and B radiation can cause sunburn, damage to your eyes and other health effects, including an increased risk of skin cancer.

Health Canada advises Canadians to take steps to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.

For more information please visit Tanning and its Effects on Your Health.

SOURCE Health Canada

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