Insurance Coverage And Lamps
For the most part, obtaining tanning salon insurance has been a fairly uncomplicated process. However, some salons now are being asked to provide documentation that the lamps they use are “at or below 5.0 percent UVB”. This requirement is superfluous because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no such provision.
The nature of light and its effect on the body is such that it cannot be measured in simple terms like a “UVB percentages, radiant flux, UV ratios or numerical ratings.” Currently, there is no mandatory regulation for rating tanning lamps at the state or federal level. There is no universal rating system that is used by all tanning lamp manufacturers because they each have different methods to quantify their specific brands. The spectral output of a lamp does not, in and of itself, constitute the standard by which any given indoor tanning unit should be measured.
Another problem with measuring UVB lamp output is that lamp performance is, to a degree, dependant on the performance of the equipment in which it is installed. Some equipment factors that contribute to UVB output include the transmissiveness of the acrylic sheet, the type of ballast used to channel energy to the lamp, the distance of the lamp in relation to the tanner, the degree of reflectivity of the reflector system, and incoming voltage to the tanning unit. Therefore, to say that a tanning lamp is either “good”or “bad” because it emits a certain spectrum of light is inaccurate and a misleading method in which to judge its merits.
What is important in considering responsible tanning practices is the exposure schedule. Any indoor tanning unit manufactured after September 1986 is required to have an imprinted exposure schedule listing appropriate exposure times for certain skin types. Tanning unit manufacturers also must designate the lamp type that should be used in the equipment. The unit’s total UV output— not to exceed 4 MEDs (minimal erythemal dose)—is measured by an independent laboratory that determines its exposure schedule according to FDA guidelines. These test results are then forwarded to the FDA and kept on file. The goal is to limit the length of time that a person spends exposed to ultraviolet light and whether the lamp used in the tanning system is the original lamp or one that is registered with the FDA as being compliant as an alternative to the original lamp.
There is a growing tendency in the insurance business to grant or deny coverage to commercial indoor tanning facilities based on irrelevant considerations involving tanning lamps. Using the level of UVB emitted by a given indoor tanning lamp as the deciding factor for insurance coverage is inappropriate. Coverage should be determined according to what is allowed by law, not the subjective rules of insurance companies.
More important factors that insurance companies should consider are whether salons use of FDA-complaint equipment, train employees with an accredited training program, provide FDA-compliant protective eyewear, require clients to sign risk-acknowledgment cards, conduct a professional business, whether the tanning lamps are FDA registered and either unitcompatible or the original tanning lamp specified on the equipment label.
FDA has regulated the indoor tanning since its inception in 1980. Lamp compatibility is defined as follows:
Compatibility Of Lamps:
1. Each unit comes equipped with a lamp product which is specified in the
unit labeling as the “original equipment lamp”.
a. Original equipment lamp is the product with which the exposure schedule testing was performed.
b. The original equipment lamp is primarily the appropriate replacement lamp.
2. Replacing the original lamp product with one that is equivalent to
that lamp is possible.
a. Replacement lamp is equivalent if it is as effective within plus or minus 10 percent, as the original lamp, in causing erythema and melanogenesis.
b. Lamp manufacturer must show that its replacement does not significantly alter the exposure schedule found in the equipment labeling.
c. It is not legal to substitute any lamp that may fit, or to retrofit or convert a given unit so that a lamp or different dimensions will fit.