Frequently Asked Questions on the Amendments to the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (Tanning Equipment)

Q1. Why were the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (Tanning Equipment) amended?

A1.  Regulations that were last updated in 2005 did not reflect recent scientific studies that link ultraviolet radiation from tanning equipment to the risk of developing cancer, or that younger users are at a particular risk. The risks are cumulative, meaning there is an escalating risk with total hours, sessions or years of tanning equipment use. Age of first use is also a factor: both an increased risk of developing melanoma and early onset of the disease have been linked with age at first use of tanning beds.

While mortality rates have remained consistent in Canada, with one death occurring among every five people diagnosed, incidence of melanoma has increased threefold between 1972 and 2006. At the same time popularity of artificial tanning has also increased, with females in their late teens and twenties most likely to use tanning equipment. Many Canadians mistakenly believe that using indoor tanning equipment to develop a base tan before tanning in the sun can protect from sunburn, and that indoor tanning is safer than tanning in the sun.

These amendments also address the need to update the titles of technical standards referenced in the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (Tanning Equipment).

Q2. Were consultations held in advance of the amendments?

A2 . Yes. From November 26 to December 21, 2010, a targeted stakeholder consultation was conducted to solicit input on proposed warning label content. A total of nine stakeholders (including tanning bed manufacturers, cancer control groups, consumer groups, and associations representing the interests of dermatologists, medical and paediatric professionals and the tanning industry) were contacted by telephone, and were invited to participate. On November 26, 2010, stakeholders were also invited to review and submit written comments on the tanning equipment warning labels.

The amended Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (Tanning Equipment) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on February 23, 2013. Following the publication, interested parties were given another opportunity to provide comments during a 75 days period. The proposed amendments were revised again taking some suggestions of the respondents into account.

Q3. When did the amended regulations become law?

A3. The amended regulations come into force on May 7, 2014. The new regulations are not retroactive. They apply to tanning devices sold, resold, leased in or imported into Canada on or after May 7, 2014.

Q4. How will the amended regulations be enforced?

Under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA), it is incumbent upon the manufacturer, importer or distributor, as the case may be, to ensure that they meet the requirements of REDA, and regulations applicable to their devices. Health Canada carries out inspections (compliance verification) and can apply various subsections of the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations to verify and enforce compliance of radiation emitting devices.

All manufacturers, sellers, importers and distributors of radiation emitting devices must ensure that devices comply with the applicable requirements of the REDA and, if applicable, other federal legislation and associated regulations.

Q5. Are there any costs associated with these amendments?

A5. The new labelling requirements will have a minimal impact on the tanning industry. Industry would be required to change warnings, which would be available as an electronic file from Health Canada. This will impose very low, if any, compliance costs to industry and similarly low costs to the government to develop this electronic file. The estimated cost of printing new labels is $111 per business, totalling $7,880 for all 71 Canadian manufacturers and distributors.

Q6. Will Health Canada also update its Guidelines for Tanning Salon Owners, Operators, and Users?

A6. Yes, Health Canada has updated its "Guidelines for Tanning Salon Owners, Operators and Users". Note that this document is interim and currently under revision by the Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee.

Q7. Where can I find electronic versions of the new warning labels for download?

A7. Electronic versions of the warning labels in various print formats are available at Health Canada's Tanning equipment and labelling webpage.

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