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Standards updated for tanning salons

Tanning facilities in Cattaraugus County can expect to face health inspections beginning next fall.

The county's Board of Health learned Wednesday how the county will be affected by amendments to the federal Public Health Law that takes effect next month.

The amendments govern the ultraviolet radiation devices used in tanning beds. Also addressed are consent procedures for clients between ages 14 and 18.

Public Health Director Barb Hastings told board members that the changes are aimed at preventing ultraviolet radiation that could lead to skin cancer, promoting cleanliness and making sure clients are aware of the risks of tanning.

Environmental Health Director Eric Wohlers briefed the board and said five counties already have their own sets of regulations on those matters.

"We're not enforcing [the amendments] until we have a policy in place," said Wohlers, adding that the state will take about six months to formulate regulations conforming to the federal amendments. He said the county Health Department will begin performing the inspections in about a year.

Currently there are seven tanning facilities in beauty salons with one to nine beds each. One medium-sized tanning salon has 10 to 20 beds, and one large salon has 20 or more beds, Wohlers said, describing the required inspections as "another unfunded mandate."

In other Health Department business, Wohlers announced that the final easements have been obtained from property owners and the bidding process has been launched for a new water district serving 65 to 68 homes in the hamlet of Versailles in Perrysburg.

Contamination, boil-water advisories since 2000, and the periodic drying up of wells prompted officials to establish the new district, which should be supplying water to residents by next spring.

Also, Patient Services Director Susan Andrews told board members that the county has distributed more than 1,000 doses of flu vaccine in 30 clinics, with 10 more scheduled.

So far this season, the county has had no reported cases of the flu.

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