Texas AG turns heat on tanning salon

Keith Loria May 19, 2010, 1:10pm


AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Three owners of a San Antonio tanning salon have been charged by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott with violating the state's consumer and health and safety laws.

The lawsuit charges Curtis Ryan, Lynda Ryan and their son Tony Ryan, the owners of the tanning salon Euro Tan, with allegedly soliciting customers using colorful brochures and a Web site that included misinformation about the health benefits of tanning salons.

Among the misstated claims were that their tanning beds reduce the incidence of melanoma because of the delivery of high doses of Vitamin D to the skin, Abbott says. The tanning beds used at Euro Tan, however, are only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic tanning of the human body.

Euro Tan also listed on its brochure that increased dosages of Vitamin D can benefit those with many serious conditions, including autism and some cancers, and that the tanning beds would lower blood pressure, increase muscle strength and improve the immune system, Abbott says, though none of that has ever been proven.

The defendants are charged with violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as well as various Texas Health and Safety Code laws for making these allegedly false claims.

Tanning salons are prohibited from claiming that indoor tanning devices provide any health or medical benefits under the Texas Health and Safety Code.

The company also implied on its Web site that tanning salon customers did not need to use sunscreen and made a posting on its Web site rhetorically titled "Is Sunscreen Causing Cancer?"

Abbott seeks an injunction to stop their deceptive practices and is looking for civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the DTPA, as well as $25,000 per day for each violation of the Health and Safety Code.

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