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Tanning booth bill debated

January 29, 1997

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS - That beautiful bronze glow isn't the only thing people are getting from tanning salons, a legislative committee was told Wednesday.

Premature aging, allergic reactions and even skin cancer can be the result of too much soaking beneath the ultraviolet rays of a tanning booth, said Dr. Angela Peterman, an Annapolis dermatologist.

"There is no such thing as a healthy tan," Peterman told the House Economic Matters Committee.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, said he wants to make people aware of those risks. He is sponsoring legislation that would require tanning fans to sign a written statement acknowledging "certain facts and warnings" about the use of tanning devices.

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The bill also would require parents to sign the statement for minors wanting to use a tanning booth.

"It's all about disclosure in tanning facilities," Donoghue said.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill (H.B. 323) during the hearing.

Melissa Farkas, manager of Hawaiian Tan in Hagerstown, said the legislation would have little impact on her business because her customers are informed about potential risks and prevention.

"We pretty much explain to them what's going to happen," she said.

In fact, many salon owners are responsible about informing their customers, said Robin F. Shaivitz, a lobbyist for the Maryland Dermatological Society. In certain cases, warnings are displayed for liability insurance reasons, she said.

But the bill is needed to make sure that those salons not providing the information will do so, she said.

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