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Inspections applauded for tanning salons

New York State is mandating that county health departments begin inspecting tanning salons this year, and Stacy Blackley is all for it.

"I think it's a great idea. The ones who aren't following the rules should be put out of business," said Blackley, who owns Tan-Fastic stores in Lockport and Newfane.

Niagara County Environmental Health Director James J. Devald told the Board of Health last week that as far as he can determine, there are 18 businesses in Niagara County operating tanning booths.

He said the state mandate, contained in a law that took effect in August, will require counties to carry out inspections to ensure compliance with laws regarding tanning safety and cleanliness.

"We'll have to inspect them, give them a permit and charge them for the permit," Devald said.

Bring it on, says Blackley.

"I think the state always ought to inspect every business. It doesn't cost that much," said Blackley, who, with her brothers, also owns the local Kenyon's Variety chain of convenience stores.

She said that some tanning operators don't emphasize customer safety.

"A lot of hairdressers pick up a tanning bed. People can get burned because they don't know what they're doing," Blackley said. "You have to argue with people who want to be in for 15 minutes and they only should be in for six."

Devald said the new amendments will ban anyone younger than 14 from using a tanning bed. Those between 14 and 18 must have parental consent, and adults must sign a form indicating they have read state Health Department warnings.

On another Health Department topic, Wanda Smiley, director of patient services, told the Board of Health she will order fewer doses of flu vaccine next winter, because much of the vaccine the county obtained this year is going unused.

"There's still plenty of flu vaccine," said Smiley, who ordered 1,100 doses this season, "so there's no reason everybody in the county can't get vaccinated."

Next year, she said, "I'll order only 500."


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