City Council may soon regulate indoor tanning in Philly

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Philadelphians seeking to get some color in anticipation of the coming spring may soon face more regulations.

City Councilman Bill Greenlee on Thursday introduced legislation that would require the city’s indoor tanning facilities to issue customers written warnings about the danger of artificial sunlight and to restrict minors’ access to sun beds.

“There is a clear and ever increasing risk of cancer over the years for those who are exposed to indoor tanning beds,” Greenlee said.

The legislation would require tanning salons to have customers sign warnings outlining the risks of repeated artificial UV ray exposure, including premature aging, skin cancer and damage to unprotected eyes.

Greenlee pointed to statistics he called “staggering” – 71 percent of the one million people who use tanning beds each day are females between the ages of 16 and 29, and studies show that young people who patronize tanning salons have a 69 percent increased chance of a common form of early-onset skin cancer.

“Teenage girls and young women make up the growing number of tanning bed customers,” Greenlee said. “And they often feel pressure to look tan for proms and other events without considering the risks, thinking they are not vulnerable to skin cancer.”

The Center for Disease Control estimates that those who begin tanning younger than the age of 35 have a 75 percent higher risk of melanoma.

Greenlee’s legislation would require tanning facilities to obtain written permission from legal guardians to allow minors to tan, as well as ban all those under the age of 14 from tanning beds without a note from a licensed doctor.

Billboard fight suspended

In other City Hall news, after two years of legislative battles over the issue, City Council has for now given up its fight to erect a 10,000 square-foot digital wall wrap on the Electric Factory building at 8th and Callowhill streets.

Councilman Mark Squilla on Thursday announced that, following Mayor Michael Nutter’s veto of a bill allowing the signage – a portion of which revenue would have gone to fund local schools – he would not seek an override vote.

“The self-serving interest of the billboard industry have never been stronger in this city and we are extremely grateful to the mayor for doing the right thing,” said Mary Tracy of anti-blight nonprofit Scenic Philadelphia. “This has been a tough issue for Councilman Squilla and we are grateful to him for not requesting an override vote.”


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