Don’t get burned by foot tanner, FDA warns

If you’ve bought or used a portable foot-tanning device sold as the “Tootsie Tanner,” you should know you have already been fleeced and should probably have your head examined. But to that helpful warning from your Booster Shots team, the FDA on Tuesday added the following: flaws in the Tootsie Tanner and the instructions that accompany it could cause you to burn your feet and damage your eyes.

Who knew that foot tanning was in such demand that someone would actually invent and market such a device? (It turns out that tanned feet are HOT on YouTube.)

The FDA’s warning, issued Tuesday, says the Tootsie Tanner’s timing device allows use of the machine for as long as 30 minutes, and the instructions accompanying the device suggest that a half hour’s exposure is safe. The FDA says that no more than 20 minutes of exposure to UV radiation on the Tootsie Tanner is safe. Beyond that, the Tootsie Tanner does not prominently warn of the need for eye protection during use. Serious eye and skin injuries -- both immediate and delayed -- could result from the product’s use.

The FDA, by the way, in recent months has become aggressive in its campaign to warn consumers about the health dangers of sun lamps and indoor tanning. If you’re still an aficionado of tanning salons, you should have a look at the FDA’s tanning website.

But you’ll be out of luck if you try to contact the makers of the Tootsie Tanner for a refund. After selling 3,000 of the devices, the manufacturer, IPCH, of Sugarland, Texas, has gone out of business, the FDA says. Maybe demand wasn’t so brisk after all.

-- Melissa Healy / Los Angeles Times