Like the heroes of myths from days gone by, the Indoor Tanning Association is set to do battle with a dragon, and that dragon has many heads.
While a new year usually symbolizes new beginnings, the Indoor Tanning Association expects 2014 to be dominated by existing matters with the Federal government. The tanning organization is involved in two ongoing issues with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while a possible battle with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) looms ominously upon the horizon. If that weren’t enough, the ITA remains committed to its dedication to repeal the Federal Tan Tax, which has been plaguing this industry since 2010. All this is more than enough to keep its members busy, and more than enough reason for more tanning salon professionals to get involved!
Last year, news of the FDA’s intention to reclassify tanning equipment and sunlamps to Class II devices was on everyone’s minds. This year is expected to be no different, according to the ITA. “We’re still in a wait-and-see mode,” said John Overstreet, ITA Executive Director. “We are prepared to do what we have to do no matter which way the FDA chooses to proceed with this issue. This is why we will stay on top of it.” On May 6, 2013, the FDA announced its reclassification intentions, which, if passed, could be very expensive and time consuming for product manufacturers. The ITA drafted a lengthy response to the agency and submitted it as a matter of public comment and everyone in the industry is still awaiting the FDA’s response to the ITA. If reclassification is approved, equipment and sunlamp manufacturers will have to prove that their products meet certain performance-testing criteria as well as other stringent requirements.
As if one possible battle with the FDA wasn’t enough, the ITA will likely face two in 2014. The second issue centers upon the FDA’s stated intention to work on amendments to its performance standard, 21 C.F.R. § 1040.20, which has been ongoing for more than a decade. “We won’t know the extent of the problem until we see the language,” Overstreet said. “Based on the way our government is presently treating this industry, we have to prepare for the worst.” Last summer, the agency publicly stated it, “plans to propose amendments to this performance standard [1040.20] to reflect current scientific knowledge related to sunlamp use, harmonize it more closely with International Electrochemical Commission (IEC) International Standard and strengthen the warning statement.” These changes could impose significant new requirements on the operation of sunlamp products and could come at any time as a formal rulemaking.
As of last year, the CDC has shown an interest in the indoor tanning industry. “We strongly believe that the CDC is seeking to obtain a Surgeon General’s warning for indoor tanning,” Overstreet said. “This could have severely negative consequences for this industry, so our goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen.” On August 5, 2013, the CDC requested information from the public on “preventing skin cancer through the reduction of UV exposure.” Members of the ITA remain alarmed because the language used in the Federal organization’s call for comment automatically links UV exposure with illness. Working with the Ultraviolet Light Research and Education Foundation, the ITA responded to the CDC’s request for comment with two extensive scientific literature reviews and requested balanced communications to the public regarding the risks and benefits of UV exposure.
This year, the ITA plans to continue its ongoing efforts to get the Tan Tax repealed. “Some in our industry might believe the gridlock on Capitol Hill is a net positive for the country,” Overstreet said, “but it’s not a positive for getting the Tan Tax repealed. While Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) is still our champion in the efforts, our best avenue will be for the repeal to be included as a part of a comprehensive tax reform package. We believe we are well positioned with the Ways and Means Committee should an opportunity arise.” The ITA urges salon owners to help by continuing to make connections with members of Congress and Senate and convincing them that the Tan Tax unfairly targets the indoor tanning industry and continues to negatively impact the economies of everyone who earns their living selling sunshine. “We have to make sure our issue stays front and center in our elected officials’ minds,” Overstreet added.
This year, there is much facing the indoor tanning industry at the Federal level. Because of this, the ITA urges all business owners to aid the organization in its efforts to protect everyone’s right to tan. “We encourage everyone who’s not an ITA member to join us and get involved,” he said. “There is strength in numbers and when we all pull together, we can speak as one so our voice is heard in Washington, D.C.” Everyone who wishes to help the ITA fight these battles on behalf of the indoor tanning industry is urged to contact the association.
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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