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Friday 28th October 2016

Sunbeds getting stronger

30th January 2007

04092006_sunbed1.jpgCancer charities are calling for tighter regulation of the tanning industry as the cancer risk from sunbeds soars to record levels.

People who tan using a sunbed are three times more likely to develop skin cancer compared with a decade ago due to more advanced equipment.  Medical experts are so worried about the risks they are calling upon the government to introduce a licensing scheme for sunbeds and tanning shops.  In a survey of tanning studios, health spas and sports complexes, experts from Ninewells Hospital, Dundee found that over 80% of sunbeds exceeded the limits for ultraviolet radiation exposure laid down in European safety guidelines. It was also found that the number of unregulated sunbeds was up by 30%. Dr Harry Moseley of Ninewells and the local environmental health officers who carried out the study found that modern sunbeds emit UVA and UVB rays comparable to the Mediterranean sun whereas 10 years ago the average strength of sunbeds was equivalent to a British summer.

Cases of the deadly skin cancer, malignant melanoma, have more than doubled in the past 20 years and the disease kills over 2,000 people annually.  Speaking about his findings Dr Moseley advised people to avoid using sunbeds saying, "Exposing yourself to ultraviolet radiation is not a healthy thing to do. People should know that it carries a risk of skin cancer and I'd simply advise people not to use them."  However, The Sunbed Association rejected Dr Moseley’s claims saying that as lamps got stronger, session times were shortened.

Last year, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said the provision of sunbeds in council-run leisure centres was akin to a "hospital providing cigarettes". 


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