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DHMH : Tanning-Request-for-Comments

  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE
Request for Comment on Regulations for Minors Using Tanning Devices

In the 2008 legislative session, the General Assembly passed HB1358, which provided authority for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to adopt regulations on parental informed consent and age verification for minors use of tanning devices. The legislation’s purpose included “prohibiting owners, employees and operators of tanning facilities from allowing minors to use certain tanning devices unless certain individuals provide consent for the minors in a certain manner” and “requiring certain owners employees and operators of tanning facilities to require certain documentation before allowing certain individuals access to tanning facilities.”

The legislation’s preamble noted that “[m]ore than 2,300,000 teenagers use artificial tanning devices each year.”  The preamble also stated that the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have taken positions against the use of tanning devices by minors.  The preamble also stated: “It is in the public interest to protect children from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation through the use of artificial tanning devices by restricting minors’ access to such devices unless authorized by a physician.”

 

In compliance with Health-General Article, §20-106, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene adopted regulations on the use of tanning devices by minors.  The regulations (Code of Maryland Regulations 10.52.06), which became effective on June 29, 2009, established procedures for written consent; a requirement that persons in charge of tanning facilities use the consent form prescribed by the Department; a requirement to verify the age of persons seeking to use tanning devices; record-keeping; and a process for complaints,investigations,and enforcement. (Read more about the existing regulations here: http://ideha.dhmh.maryland.gov/OEHFP/EH/SitePages/tanning-for-minors.aspx)

The Department prescribed a consent and information form for tanning facilities (available at http://ideha.dhmh.maryland.gov/OEHFP/EH/Shared%20Documents/Consent_Form_Approved.pdf). 

The Secretary requests comments by Friday, August 31, 2012, on whether the regulations or consent form should be updated.  Comments are specifically sought on: (a) the state of scientific knowledge regarding the health risks associated with tanning devices and their use by minors;  (b) information on whether the consent and age verification procedures prescribed by regulation are being carried out, in the experience of consumers and facility operators;  and (c) recommendations, with justification, for changes in consent and age verification procedures as prescribed by regulation.

The Secretary has asked the Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council to review comments and to make recommendations on whether the Department should take any additional action.  The Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council (CEHPAC) was established in 2000 by Health-General Article, §13-1501—1506, Annotated Code of Maryland.  CEHPAC advises the Governor and the General Assembly on environmental issues that may pose a threat to children.  In addition to reviewing written comments, the Council will hold a hearing to solicit public input on the three questions above on September 18, 2012.  The Council will then vote on recommendations to forward to the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene regarding the consent form and the consent and age verification procedures.  

Written comments should be submitted by August 31, 2012, at 5:00 PM. 

Comments may be submitted by mail to Michele Phinney, Director, Office of Regulation and Policy Coordination, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 201 W. Preston St., Room 512, Baltimore, MD 21201 or call 410-767-6499, TTY: 800-735-2258, or by email to regs@dhmh.state.md.us, or by fax to 410-767-6483.

**UPDATE***
The Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council will hold its hearing on September 18, 2012, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The hearing will be held at the Arbutus Public Library, 855 Sulphur Spring Road, Arbutus, Maryland, 21227.

 

 
                                                               JOSHUA M. SHARFSTEIN, M.D.
                                                                       Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene