It's not often an industry asks for government regulation. But two representatives of local tanning salons want the City-County Health Department to adopt regulations to govern operation of their business.

Lee Warner, co-owner of Club Tan in Provo and Angela's Ultra Tan in Orem, says regulation is "good for health."There are approximately 22 commercial tanning salons in Utah County. The Warners have owned their salons since 1989. The Orem business has 200 to 300 clients per week, Warner said.

"Utah is way behind," Warner said. "Most states have regulations. Now, only Salt Lake County has regulations."

Warner and his sister, Kathy Warner, are members of the Suntanning Association for Education, a national organization that educates salon owners about tanning and promotes adoption of state regulations to govern tanning businesses.

At the behest of the Warners the health department drafted regulations for commercial tanning facilities. The proposed regulations will be reviewed during a public hearing on Jan. 7 at the health department.

The proposed regulations are aimed at protecting and promoting public health, safety and welfare while preventing the spread of disease.

Glade Shelley, supervisor of environmental health, said the health department received no complaints about tanning businesses during the past year, but did receive a number of complaints prior to that. The last complaint he could recall was from a customer who was overexposed to ultraviolet light at a salon.

The health department would charge a fee - Salt Lake County charges $50 a year - to operate the regulatory program.

The regulations would require commercial tanning salons to have an operational permit from the health department. Tanning salon employees would be required to go through a certification program and salons would be subject to periodic inspections.

Also, the proposed regulations include criteria for timers, ventilation, temperatures, cleaning procedures and tanning booth construction.

Entities exempted from the regulations are: physicians, surgeons, chiropractors, physical therapists, nurses and individuals using tanning beds in their own homes.

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Getting tan

Proposed regulations for commercial tanning salons would require them to provide customers with printed information discussing the following:

- Drugs and agents that can cause photosensitivity.

- Potential negative health effects of ultraviolet exposure, including skin cancer and premature aging.

- How different skin types respond to tanning.

- The need to use eyewear while tanning and the fact that closing the eyes is not sufficient to prevent possible eye damage.

- Risks of tanning while pregnant.