Skin cancer victims who ascribe their maladies to tanning salons persuaded a panel of Chicago aldermen Wednesday to bar tanning facilities from letting people younger than 18 use their equipment, even if the minors have the permission of a parent or guardian.
The testimony, along with reports of the links between skin cancer and tanning equipment presented by doctors, put the ban on the fast track for approval at next week's City Council meeting.
Debra Silverstein, 50th. "We do regulate cigarettes that cause cancer. I think this causes cancer as well."
Under the measure, a tanning facility that allowed someone younger than 18 to use tanning equipment could be hit with a fine of $100 to $250. The ban would be enforced by the city Public Health Department.
The endorsement from the council's Committee on License and Consumer Protection came after testimony from Donna Moncivaiz, 50.
"I am a stage three malignant melanoma patient," Moncivaiz said. "My (two) daughters and I all used tanning beds, and I never really thought a thing of it until I was diagnosed last summer."
No one from tanning businesses spoke at the hearing. Washington-based Indoor Tanning Association Executive Director John Overstreet said his organization believes the decision about teen tanning is one that should be made by parents, not government.
The committee also recommended approval of an amendment to license dozens of produce stands around the city to sell uncut fruits and vegetables so long as half of them operate in "areas underserved by grocery stores."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal would start as a test program at 30 locations, including the Navy Pier bus turnaround, 800 N. State Street, and 95th and State streets. The city also would make available an unlimited number of produce merchant licenses for use on private property in nonresidential zones if the vendor obtained permission from the owner.
Some of those who testified believed the city should go further and legalize the estimated 1,500 vendors selling cut fruits and vegetables on city streets.
"Allowing people to sell fruits and vegetables, and set up all day and get public way permits, are all good things," said Beth Kregor of the University of Chicago Law School. "I would love to see that kind of approach stretched to include all sorts of other foods and locations."