Tanning association seeks public standards across country

Support from provinces crucial to proposed indoor tanning regulations

TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - The Joint Canadian Tanning Association (JCTA) is calling on provincial governments across Canada to work with the indoor tanning industry to formalize appropriate regulations related to the operation of indoor tanning equipment.

"For years the JCTA and its members have acted as pioneers in developing comprehensive salon guidelines on the responsible use of indoor tanning equipment. With the support of governments we can most effectively extend these safeguards and programs for all Canadians," says JCTA President Doug McNabb.

Health Canada already regulates standards for the manufacture of indoor tanning equipment as well as provides operating guidelines for tanning salons in Canada. JCTA is looking to formalize standards for how the usage of equipment is regulated by provincial governments should they choose to do so.

Although we believe self-regulation is an effective option should governments desire, Canada's tanning professionals at JCTA salons want to formalize regulations that professional salons already voluntarily impose on themselves, including:

    -   Professional operator training standards, including skin typing and
        exposure procedures. Professional salons in North America do not
        allow individuals with the fairest skin type - known as "Skin Type I
        - to tan.
    -   Fundamental facility requirements, including "remote timing" controls
        which allow only a trained certified operator to set exposure times.
    -   A minimum parental consent requirement for minors under age 16 -
        already standard practice in professional salons today.

"Most importantly, we believe any regulations require the inclusion of parents in decisions relating to tanning their own children under the age of 16, the same age they are able to drive a car," says JCTA Executive Director Steve Gilroy.

Gilroy has been working with provincial governments for more than a decade to develop self-imposed standards. This call is an extension of that effort.

"A training requirement is key to any government initiative related to indoor tanning. While I believe firmly that our equipment is a smarter way to tan when used properly, if used incorrectly it can pose a risk to the public. I tell salons, would you get in a car with an unlicensed driver? Then why would anyone go to a tanning salon without a fully trained and certified staff or use unmanned tanning equipment?" Gilroy asked.

"It seems reasonable for indoor tanning salon operators to hold themselves to the same standards as hairdressers and cosmetologists. Both of these professions are required to have training and certification."

The JCTA believes provincial governments can easily adopt the JCTA guidelines and certification programs - saving public dollars and resources while providing a responsible system which will go far beyond simplistic age-based bans discussed to date.

"Banning minors from professional salons will only make the problem of overexposure worse," Gilroy explained. "Instead, we should involve parents in the decisions of their children through a form of parental consent. To not do so will result in teenagers tanning more aggressively outdoors and purchasing inexpensive, unregulated home-based units. It will drive the overexposure problem underground."

The program is directed to people of all ages. "It is not an issue of age. It really is about appropriateness. There are some people who are in their twenties, thirties and forties who we simply will not tan because of their fair skin type. Regardless of age, JCTA guidelines include turning some people away from member salons. A regulatory system built on these standards will provide increased safeguards and reduce the potential risks for those who tan indoors," says JCTA Ontario Director Harry Jones.

Moving forward, the JCTA stands ready to lend its expertise to help provincial governments develop regulations based on our proven guidelines and certification programs.

"We see government as a partner in developing safeguards related to the indoor tanning industry. It is a cause which unites professional salons, policy-makers and health promotion agencies as one. We all need to see a resolution to the challenges which have consistently arisen from untrained and unskilled tanning facility operators. We are hopeful by working together in the spirit of partnership we can develop a system which truly focuses on reducing the risks of overexposure caused by the poor practices," Gilroy said.

About JCTA

The JCTA is a national non-profit organization representing Canada's professional indoor tanning industry. Representing over 1,600 salons, the JCTA is the single voice for Canada's professional certified salons.

SOURCE Joint Canadian Tanning Association

For further information: For further information: Interview Opportunities: JCTA Executive Director, Steven Gilroy and President Doug McNabb are available for media interviews by contacting Tracey Warren at (403) 259-0487 or info@TanCanada.org; For French interviews Loraine Cordeau can be reached at the Quebec Provincial Association, ASBQ, 1-866-645-7070 or (450) 654-7797

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