Ultrino, House Vote for Bill Protecting Minors from Dangers of Indoor Tanning

BOSTON – State Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass legislation that prohibits individuals under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed. Tanning beds are classified in the most dangerous group of cancer-causing agents by the World Health Organization, and this change reflects the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendations regarding tanning devices.

“We all know that melanoma, which is becoming increasingly prevalent, takes loved ones from us too often and too soon,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “As public officials we have a responsibility to protect minors, particularly when it comes to their health. I believe this law will help save lives and I thank Representatives Sanchez, Hogan and Decker for their hard work on this issue.”

“This bill is a logical step to help prevent cancer in children and to keep them safe and healthy,” said Representative Ultrino.  “I am proud to vote for this bill and I applaud those who helped write and advocate for this bill.”

While the bill only came before the full House for passage last week, it has been debated in both the Public Health Committee and Health Care Financing Committee over the past several months.  Representative Ultrino, who is a member of both committees, voted to pass the bill through each committee and had been following its progress closely.

“The research is clear – tanning devices cause cancer. By supporting this bill to protect our kids from the UV radiation emitted by these devices, Massachusetts lawmakers are working to prevent future skin cancer diagnoses and save lives,” said Marc Hymovitz, Massachusetts director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  “We applaud members of the House and Senate for voting overwhelming in favor of this legislation.”

“Research overwhelmingly shows that indoor tanning significantly increases the risk of skin cancer,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “This legislation is an overdue move to limit our children’s exposure to a known carcinogenic product.”

The bill also requires that tanning device operators be over the age of 18, but does not change the age permissible for other employment at tanning salons.

The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk.