Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now setting his sights on tanning salons, as new regulations were proposed at Wednesday's meeting of the city Board of Health. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
The latest, and maybe the last, public health initiative to come from Mayor Michael Bloomberg is aimed at reducing the number of city residents developing skin cancer.
"We have an average of 918 residents are diagnosed with melanoma each year in New York City, and there are 114 deaths," said Assistant Health Commissioner Christopher Boyd.
City health officials are looking to take over enforcement of state regulations of tanning salons that have been on the books for years, like requiring training and certification for all UV bed operators, cracking down on unlicensed operators and underage tanning, and inspecting tanning salons, beds and timers once every two years.
Many in the city tanning industry say it's no big deal because most are already in compliance.
"Any effort that the mayor wants to impose in order to keep his constituency safe and knowledgeable about tanning, we're absolutely for," said Dante Fitzpatrick, operations manager at Beach Bum Tanning Manhattan.
What is new is the public campaign the Health Department plans to launch, with more graphic and simplified warnings about tanning that salons must post.
"We want a sign that communicates the risk clearly to people that they will have an increased risk of developing skin cancer, and not just a minor skin cancer, either, but actually fatal skin cancer, if they use these devices," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
While the city doesn't plan to add to the state's restrictions, Farley's own recommendations take a tougher stance.
"There's no such thing as a safe dosage of an indoor tanning bed. There's no such thing as a safe tan," Farley said. "So we recommend people not use these devices."
In response, members of the indoor tanning industry said there needs to be a much more nuanced discussion from public health officials about the dangers of UV light.
"You don't monitor how long people tan when they go to the beach. There are no signs that say you can only tan for an hour or lay out for an hour. That would be ridiculous," Fitzpatrick said. "Indoor tanning is one of the safest ways to tan because it is monitored."
The Board of Health will hold a public hearing on the new regulations next month.