New Pa. law bans those 16 and under from indoor tanning

Karen Kosh, owner of Studio K in Charleroi, displays a tanning stall at her salon in this 2009 photo. - Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A new Pennsylvania law banning children 16 years old and younger from using indoor tanning facilities won’t have much of an effect on one such business in Charleroi.

Karen Kosh, owner of Studio K in the Mon Valley borough, already prohibits those 14 and under from using her tanning equipment and requires parental permission for 15- to 17-year-olds who seek bronze skin at her business.

“I’d rather be safe,” Kosh said Wednesday, a day after Gov. Tom Corbett signed the legislation.

The new law, which takes affect in two months, requires 17-year-olds who want to use a commercial tanning business to have the consent of their parents. It requires the businesses to post warnings about health risks from indoor tanning, have customers sign a written warning statement before tanning, keep records for three years, provide employee training on recognizing skin types and make sure their beds meet state and federal guidelines.

Kosh said she hoped most tanning salons already do business with precautions similar to hers.

The new law won’t have much effect on the bottom line of Shear Expressions in Carmichaels, according to manager Debbie Maraney.

Maraney said the policy there has been to get a parental signature for those 18 and younger. However, the percentage of teens tanning has been relatively low and primarily occurs around prom season.

Kathy Megyesy, owner of Hair & There Styling & Tanning in Washington, said she does not see many 16-year-olds wanting to tan at her business because of the health concerns associated with indoor tanning.

The International Agency for Skin Cancer in 2009 issued a report stating there is an increase in the risk of skin cancer for those who use the indoor tanning facilities. They remain popular among high school students, especially during prom season.

“There is so much controversy,” Megyesy said, who added she believes tanning indoors is safe when it’s done correctly.

State Sen. Tim Solobay said he voted against the bill over his concerns it had “no teeth” and came out of nowhere as a whim before prom season.

“Not to downplay the cancer concern but it seemed like a crazy bill that had no place,” said Solobay, D-Canonsburg.

He said there is nothing to stop children from using tanning beds in homes, that “there should be parental concerns anyway” about their children and how they tan.

Solobay said he also didn’t want to vote for something that might hurt small businesses.

Scott Beveridge has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1986 after previously working at the Daily Herald in Monongahela. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s fine arts and art education programs and Duquesne University’s master of liberal arts program. He is a 2004 World Affairs journalism fellow.


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