Health and Science legislation

    PA lawmakers debate indoor tanning rules and recycling regulations

    While caucus leaders slog through state budget negotiations, rank-and-file lawmakers often use their time to call attention to priorities that aren’t likely to make it into high-level budget discussions. Several of those health and science bills have won committee level approval in the state House and Senate.

    Approved by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee
    House Bill 708 would establish a recycling program for electronic devices. Computer and television manufacturers would submit recycling plans to the state Department of Environmental Protection for certification. Supporters want to divert harmful chemicals from landfills.

    Rep. Scott Hutchinson says the bill needs more work.

    Hutchinson: This bill, as written, adds a major role for DEP in enforcement. It’s going to build a bigger bureaucracy, it’s going to require some of the highest registration fees that any state has in the amount of $5,000 per manufacturer.

    Jan Jarrett is president of the environmental policy group Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future. She say the bill creates a state-supervised system that will ensure that e-waste is disposed of responsibly.

    Jarrett: Electronic waste is full of toxic components, and it’s dumped in Third World countries where children are taking it apart and being exposed to all kinds of toxins.

    Approved by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee
    Senate Bill 460 – the Indoor Tanning Regulation Act – would require salon operators to obtain a licensed from the state Department of Health, post health warnings and report injuries. The bill would ban adolescents younger than 14 from using tanning beds unless they have a letter from a physician. Older teens would need a parent’s permission.

    Lancaster dermatologist Bruce Brode is legislative coordinator for the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology.

    Brode: Indoor tanning, we know, there’s a lot of evidence leads to skin cancer. Indoor tanning is basically the retail sale of ultra-violet radiation.

    John Overstreet is a spokesman for the Indoor Tanning Association. He says it’s standard practice for tanning salons to require teens to get their parents permission. But he say the requirement for a “doctor’s letter” goes too far.

    Overstreet: These are tanning salons not pharmacies. These salon owners can’t be expected to figure out who’s a licensed physician and be responsible for the equivalent of filling out a prescription.

    Senate Bill 700 – the Health Information Technology Act – provides as much as $1 million in loans to help providers set up health information technology systems. The sponsor says data sharing and electronic tracking can improve patient safety and health care. The money could be used to purchase equipment, train workers or increase the security of existing IT systems.

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