FTC Charges Suntanning Device Seller
Falsely Claimed Its Products Are Beneficial

Company Agrees to Settle Charges Under Agreement

FTC News Release
May 9, 1989

The Federal Trade Commission charged that the makers of Solar Gold suntanning devices falsely advertised that the products provided health benefits and that consumers did not risk harmful side effects, such as skin cancer. A consent agreement issued today for public comment prohibits An-Mar International, Ltd., from misrepresenting the safety of its products.

An-Mar sells tanning beds, facial units, overhead lamp systems and other products through widely-distributed mail order catalogues.

According to a complaint accompanying the agreement, An-Mar made such claims as, "In addition to a beautiful appearance, tanning contributes to good health by providing a positive and stabilizing effect on metabolism, respiration and blood formation. It has a beneficial effect on our power of resistance, makes us feel better and gives us stamina." The complaint charges that the tanning devices provide no health benefits, and in fact, pose a risk of the harmful side effects associated with exposure to the sun's radiation.

In addition, in ads and promotional material, models are frequently shown using the tanning devices without wearing protective eyewear. This is misleading, according to the complaint, because the tanning devices cannot be used safely with-out protective eyewear. The consent agreement prohibits the company from misrepresenting that its devices provide health benefits and that they do not pose a risk of any harmful side effect.

In addition, the company must clearly and conspicuously disclose in promotional materials that protective eye wear is needed to prevent injury. If the material depicts models wearing ordinary sunglasses, it must also disclose that sunglasses do not offer adequate protection.

For one year, the company must include this notice in all promotional material: "NOTICE. Read the mandatory FDA warning label found on every tanning machine for important information on potential eye injury, skin cancer, skin aging and photosensitive reactions."

The complaint and consent agreement also name the company's officers, Andrew and Marzenna Bobel. An-Mar is based in Wood Dale, Ill. The investigation was handled by the FTC's Cleveland Regional Office.

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This page was posted on August 27, 2006.

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