Through the years, many have debated between the benefits and risks of indoor tanning.
Through the years, many have debated between the benefits and risks of indoor tanning. While opinions haven't necessarily changed one way or the other, the laws and regulations of indoor tanning have greatly altered in the state of North Dakota. With new laws passed by the legislature, indoor tanning operators have had to follow numerous policy changes or face violations.
"There were a lot of new regulations put on indoor tanning with the legislation," Candace Carlson, environmental health practitioner for NE Central North Dakota, commented.
The new set of indoor tanning regulations passed in 2009 by the North Dakota Legislature brought about numerous changes for indoor tanning businesses. Among them was a law stating that trained operators have to be onsite any time that customers are using tanning devices.
"That affected a number of local businesses that offered tanning 24 hours a day," Carlson commented. "Ultimately, the operators set hours for indoor tanning."
The biggest change with the legislation was that individuals under the age of 18 need parental consent before using indoor tanning devices. Consent forms are valid for a period of one year and must be completed each 12 months until the individual turns 18 years old.
"Operators need to keep organized records of all consent forms," Carlson, who oversees the Lake Region District Health Unit (LRDHU) Environmental Health (EH) Division which licenses and inspects facilities that offer indoor tanning, commented. "I think that is the regulation that is in question the most. The businesses also have to remember that consent is needed every year for customers under 18."
Other regulations that businesses must track include the 24-hour rule. This law notes that customers cannot book sessions within 24 hours of each other. Operators must also provide eye protection and make sure that all individuals are using them.
In the Lake Region, these standards are regulated during annual inspections by the LRDHU EH Division. Inspections are also completed if the division receives a complaint. Each business is monitored to ensure that they are in compliance with state regulations.
Play it safe
"There are quite a few different things that they look at," Kim Dahlen, owner of Minnie H Tan Master, commented. "It's important to make sure that businesses are following all of the laws in place."
There are nine different tanning beds at Minnie H as well as a spray booth that gives customers a sunless tanning option. Dahlen notes that it is very important for individuals to ask questions.
"We always have an operator that is willing to answer questions onsite," she said. "It's so important that customers feel comfortable."
For individuals new to tanning, Dahlen points out that it's important to start slow. This often is key to help new customers learn their skin type.
"Everyone is different," she said. "That's why I always tell new clients to start by tanning for just a couple of minutes."
Lake Region tanning
There are currently 13 indoor tanning facilities in the Lake Region including five in Devils Lake and Ramsey County, six in Pierce County, one in Eddy County and one in Benson County that are inspected annually, according to Carlson. Officials from the state conducted inspections before the LRDHU EH Division began completing them in 2013. After more than a year of doing inspections, the unit has noticed minimal regulations against area indoor tanning businesses.
"We just remind operators to keep the proper paperwork on hand," Carlson said.
Dahlen noted that safety is incredibly important when it comes to tanning.
"We care about the well being of all our customers," she stated. "That's why it's so important to ask questions and be comfortable at all times."