GOP puts politics ahead of science and ignores FDA warning
AUGUSTA –Senate Republicans again blocked an effort that would reduce the risk of skin cancer in children. In a vote of 15 to 19, Senate Republicans insisted on their original position to refuse the prohibition of tanning devices by youth under the age of 18.
“There’s now a black box warning on tanning beds–the most severe warning that can be placed on anything–and it warns that tanning beds are poison,” said Democratic State Senator Gratwick, a physician in Bangor and the sponsor of the measure. “Science tells us that tanning causes melanoma. It is our responsibility as lawmakers to pass rules based on evidence and do everything we can to prevent cancer in our kids.”
The bill has been praised by doctors, cancer patients, and health advocates, including the Maine Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society, the Melanoma Foundation of New England, the Maine Dermatological Society, the Maine Public Health Association, and the Maine Osteopathic Society.
The proposed Maine guidelines are already in force in nine states including California, New Jersey, Texas, Illinois, and Louisiana– all ban tanning beds for minors. In France and Brazil, tanning beds are banned for everyone, regardless of age.
Senator Gratwick sponsored a similar bill last year during the 126th Legislature. The measure received broad support and was passed in both the Senate and the House but was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage.
The measure remains in non-concurrence and will go to the House for further consideration. Last week, the Democratic-led House voted 87-59 to give initial approval to the bill, LD 123, “An Act to Reduce Youth Cancer.”