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Virginia State Tanning Law


Sections 59.1-310.1 through 59.1-310.6  of the Code of Virginia is the State's tanning law.  There is no specific program for either the regulation of tanning facilities or enforcement of the tanning law. The local Commonwealth's Attorney is responsible for enforcement of any alleged violations of this law that may occur in his respective jurisdiction. Please note that there were several changes to the Tanning Law, which became effective July 1, 2007

You may download a Word file of these sections:Tanning.doc

§ 59.1-310.1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context requires otherwise:

"Fitzpatrick scale" means the following scale for classifying a skin type, based on the skin's reaction to the first 10 to 45 minutes of sun exposure after the winter season:

Skin Type:    Sunburning and Tanning History
1          Always burns easily; never tans
2          Always burns easily; tans minimally
3          Burns moderately; tans gradually
4          Burns minimally; always tans well
5          Rarely burns; tans profusely
6          Neverburns; deeply pigmented

"Owner" means a person who owns or operates a tanning facility.

"Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or association.

"Phototherapy device" means a piece of equipment that emits ultraviolet radiation and that is used by a health care provider in the treatment of a disease.

"Tanning device" means any equipment that emits electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the air between 200 and 400 nanometers and that is used for tanning of human skin, including a sunlamp, tanning booth, or tanning bed. The term also includes any accompanying equipment, including protective eyewear, timers, and handrails.

"Tanning facility" means a business that provides persons access to tanning devices.

(1990, c. 776; 2007, c. 575.)

§ 59.1-310.2. Federal law compliance; application of chapter.

A tanning device utilized by a tanning facility shall comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations. This chapter shall not apply to a phototherapy device used by or under the supervision of a licensed physician trained in the use of phototherapy devices.

(1990, c. 776.)

§ 59.1-310.3. Notice to customers; liability.

A. A tanning facility shall give each customer a written statement warning that:

1. Failure to use the eye protection provided to the customer by the tanning facility may result in damage to the eyes;

2. Overexposure to ultraviolet light causes burns;

3. Repeated exposure may result in premature aging of the skin and skin cancer;

4. Abnormal skin sensitivity or burning may be caused by reactions of ultraviolet light to certain (i) foods; (ii) cosmetics; or (iii) medications, including tranquilizers, diuretics, antibiotics, high blood pressure medicines, or birth control pills; and

5. Any person taking a prescription or over-the-counter drug should consult a physician prior to using a tanning device.

B. Prior to allowing a prospective customer to use a tanning device, the owner or his designee shall obtain on the written statement the signature of each customer on a duplicate of the written statement provided to the customer under subsection A. In addition, the owner or his designee shall obtain, every six months, the signature of the parent or legal guardian of a prospective customer who is under the age of 15 and is not emancipated under Virginia law.

C. Compliance with the notice requirements does not affect the liability of a tanning facility owner or a manufacturer of a tanning device.

D. The signed duplicates of the written statements provided under subsection A may be retained at a location other than the tanning facility if an electronic or facsimile image of the original is readily available at each of an owner's tanning facilities.

(1990, c. 776; 2007, c. 575.)

§ 59.1-310.4. Warning signs.

A. A tanning facility shall post a warning sign in a conspicuous location where it is readily readable by persons entering the establishment. The sign shall contain the following warning:


  DANGER: ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION
       Repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation may cause chronic sun damage
 to the skin characterized by wrinkling, dryness, fragility, and bruising of
the skin, and skin cancer.
      Failure to use protective eyewear may result in severe burns or
permanent injury to the eyes.
      Medications or cosmetics may increase your sensitivity to ultraviolet
radiation. Consult a physician or nurse practitioner before using a sunlamp if
 you are using medications, have a history of skin problems, or believe you
are especially sensitive to sunlight. Pregnant women or women taking oral
contraceptives who use this product may develop discolored skin.
 IF YOU DO NOT TAN IN THE SUN, YOU WILL NOT TAN FROM USE OF AN ULTRAVIOLET
SUNLAMP.
B. A tanning facility shall post a warning sign, one sign for each tanning
device, in a conspicuous location that is readily readable to a person about
to use the device. The sign shall contain the following:
  DANGER: ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION
      1. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use of this device.
      2. Avoid too frequent or lengthy exposure. As with natural sunlight,
exposure can cause serious eye and skin injuries and allergic reactions.
Repeated exposure may cause skin cancer.
      3. Wear protective eyewear. Failure to use protective eyewear may result
 in severe burns or permanent damage to the eyes.
      4. Do not sunbathe before or after exposure to ultraviolet radiation
from sunlamps.
      5. Medications or cosmetics may increase your sensitivity to ultraviolet
 radiation. Consult a physician or nurse practitioner before using a sunlamp
if you are using medication, have a history of skin problems, or believe you
are especially sensitive to sunlight. Pregnant women or women using oral
contraceptives who use this product may develop discolored skin.
 IF YOU DO NOT TAN IN THE SUN, YOU WILL NOT TAN FROM USE OF THIS DEVICE.

(1990, c. 776; 2004, c. 855.)

§ 59.1-310.5. Operational requirements.

A. A tanning facility shall have an operator present during operating hours. The operator shall be sufficiently knowledgeable in the correct operation of the tanning devices used at the facility and shall inform and assist each customer in the proper use of the tanning device.

B. The owner or his designee shall identify the skin type of the customer based on the Fitzpatrick scale, document the skin type of the customer, and advise the customer of the customer's maximum time of recommended exposure in the tanning device.

C. Before each use of a tanning device, the operator shall provide the customer with properly sanitized protective eyewear that protects the eyes from ultraviolet radiation and allows adequate vision to maintain balance. The operator shall not allow a person to use a tanning device if that person has not been provided protective eyewear. The operator shall also instruct each customer how to use suitable physical aids, such as handrails and markings on the floor, to maintain proper exposure distance as recommended by the manufacturer of the tanning device.

D. After each use of a tanning device, the owner or his designee shall clean the device with a cleaner or sanitizer capable of killing bacteria from any previous use.

E. The tanning facility shall use a timer with an accuracy of at least plus or minus ten percent of any selected time interval. The facility shall limit the exposure time of a customer on a tanning device to the maximum exposure time recommended by the manufacturer. The facility shall control the interior temperature of a tanning device so that it may not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

F. Either each time a customer uses a tanning facility or each time a person executes or renews a contract to use a tanning facility, the person shall sign a written statement acknowledging that the person has read and understood the required warnings before using the device and agrees to use the protective eyewear that the tanning facility provides.

G. The owner shall be responsible for ensuring that each customer using the tanning facility is of legal age to do so.

H. A tanning facility shall not claim, or distribute promotional material that claims that the use of a tanning device is safe, is without risk, or will result in medical or health benefits.

(1990, c. 776; 2007, c. 575.)

§ 59.1-310.6. Violations of chapter; penalty.

Any person other than a customer, who knowingly and willfully violates any statute pertaining to the operation of tanning facilities shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

(1990, c. 776.)


Radiological Health Program | James Madison Building, 7th Floor | 109 Governor Street,  Room 730 | Richmond, VA  23219 | Telephone (804) 864-8150 | Fax: (804) 864-8155


Last Updated: 07-30-2011

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