The use of sunlamps and tanning beds’which until now was classified as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans”has been bumped up to the highest cancer risk category: ‘carcinogenic to humans.’
The International Agency for Research on Cancer made the move based on findings in a special report in the August edition of the journal The Lancet Oncology.
The authors of the report say: ‘The use of UV-emitting tanning devices is widespread in many developed countries, especially among young women. A comprehensive meta-analysis concluded that the risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75 percent when use of tanning devices starts before 30 years of age. Additionally, several case’control studies provide consistent evidence of a positive association between the use of UV[ultraviolet]-emitting tanning devices and ocular melanoma.’
Best Health writer Lesley Young took on this issue in ‘Let’s Outlaw Tanning Beds for Teens‘ (May 2009). Some of the specific dangers and concerns discussed: Ultraviolet radiation’whether from the sun or tanning lamps’damages the skin’s DNA, which can cause genetic mutations that might lead to skin cancer. The deadliest form, melanoma, is the second most common cancer among Canadians age 15 to 34. A survey by the Canadian Cancer Society found that 27 percent of females and eight percent of males age 16 to 24 used tanning equipment in 2006.
Don’t think Ottawa is doing enough to protect Canadian teens from UV radiation exposure in tanning beds? Let your MP know that you don’t think voluntary guidelines go far enough to protect the health and well-being of our youth by linking to this draft letter to send to your MP.
Have you used a tanning bed? Do your teens or their friends use them regularly?