7/29/09

Finally! Tanning Beds declared carcinogenic by WHO

Sunbeds as lethal as cigarettes & arsenic: Experts class tanning with smoking and asbestos as top cancer risks.

This was the headline on a British newspaper & MSN.com yesterday and I thought this was news worth sharing, so below is the article reproduced from the Daily Mail:

Sunbeds are as great a cancer threat as cigarettes, global health chiefs have declared.

The dangers of ‘binge tanning’ are so significant that sunbeds have been placed on the World Health Organisation’s list of the most cancer-causing substances and habits, alongside arsenic and asbestos.

Before this, sunbeds and sunlamps had been classified as ‘probably carcinogenic’, placing them one rung below the most dangerous products.

High risk: Ultra-violet radiation could trigger cancer according to scientists. After reviewing the latest evidence, WHO scientists decided there was no doubt that ultra-violet radiation could trigger the disease.

This means that sunbathing is also classified as high risk. But the intensity of the UV light emitted by sunbeds means a 20-minute visit to some booths is the equivalent to spending an entire day on the beach.

The data will be made available to the Government, including the Department of Health which is facing increasing pressure to clamp down on sunbed use. Critics say the Government has so far failed to take any meaningful action to regulate the hundreds of tanning salons around the country.

An estimated three million Britons regularly use sunbeds, with children as young as 11 using the equipment to achieve tans like those of celebrity idols. Government guidelines advise against use by youngsters but many sunbeds are in unstaffed, coin-operated booths, meaning there is no screening of customers.

Sunbeds are also increasingly powerful, with the UV output from modern machines 10 to 15 times more intense than the midday sun on a Mediterranean beach.

Announcing the reclassification in the Lancet Oncology medical journal, the experts warned that the use of sunbeds and lamps was widespread in many developed countries, especially among young women. The alert comes amid concern about soaring rates of the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Sunbed use is partly blamed for the number of cases of malignant melanoma more than doubling in just 20 years. Some 9,417 men and women in England developed the disease between 1985 and 1987. But by 2004-2006, the figure had risen to 24,356.

Research analysed by the WHO included a large-scale review which concluded that using sunbeds before the age of 30 raises the odds of skin cancer by 75 per cent. Some of the studies also flagged up a convincing link between sunbeds and eye cancer.

Dr Beatrice Secretan, of the WHO'S International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), described the reclassification as ‘significant’. She said: ‘It means sunbeds are now up there with such things as cigarettes and alcohol as the most dangerous products to use when it comes to developing cancer. ‘What we do now is send this advice to the various regulatory bodies around the world. We hope our message will get across to the owners of these machines as well as the users.

To read the rest of this article go HERE or on MSN HERE.


Now I'm no angel here, I have used sunbeds in the past but not for years now, and for the past few years I have become very anti-tan. In fact I rarely leave home without Factor 85 on year round and am now 'Proud to be Pale'. I also last year started seeing a dermatologist every other year, just to get a once over of my own fair freckled skin. This is something I feel strongly enough about, that I won't beat about the bush and will get on my soap-box about it if needed with others.

My reasons for staying determinedly pale are based partly on skin cancer risk, especially now I live in a higher risk area, where there are many more cases. But also not wanting to age quickly and wrinkle badly, which has been made very apparent by some of the women I come across who live here and never use/d sun protection. Let's just say you can really see them coming, or predict who will be in their gang within a few years, and I am not looking to join them! I know very few people here who use sunscreen in daily life, even in mid-summer.

I regularly see people burned to a crisp here and they are often completely flippant about it or laugh it off, which I find not only scary but idiotic! I wonder if they'd swallow a teaspoon of arsenic if I offered it to them and think it cool or funny?

So if I do tan, which is very rare, it's always fake. Hopefully this news will now inspire others to do the same and think of their health first. Pale & smooth is much more beautiful.

If posting this today stops even one reader using tanning beds again, then it was my most worthwhile post this year.

22 comments:

david mcmahon said...

It's been a huge debate here, especially highlighted after the death of a young Melbourne woman, Clare Oliver.

Eternally Distracted said...

I have only ever been to a sunbed once. The woman told me I'd be fine and put me in a booth. Whilst in there it seemed like I had been longer than the three minutes she advised - But she was the expert (or so I thought).

By the time I put my clothes back on I already felt a bit tender. Within three hours my body was bright red and had started to swell. Within 12 hours I was taken to the hospital with severe burns and had to spend the next three days in nothing but a sarong as no clothes would fit. I peeled so badly I looked like a snake that was shedding its skin.

Never, ever again!!

♥ Braja said...

What on earth will Posh do now.....
:)

Yummy Mammy said...

I'm a fake kinda gal myself and although the good stuff can be expensive it means I can be guaranteed golden overnight :-)

Sherri said...

Sarah, I have never tanned in a bed and never will. I have always thought they were bad for you! Hopefully people will listen, but alot of them haven't listened about cigarettes either! Oh well I know I'll be healthier not using that stuff!

Sandi McBride said...

I've not been in a tanning bed in so long! I just go about with my pale Scottish skin and pray the freckles away!
Spread the word, there's a good girl!
Sandi

Srg said...

I have never used a tanning bed and have no plans to do so in the future. I have a hard enough time trying not to burn with SPF 70, the last thing I need is some UV radiation that's 10x more powerful than the sun to burn me to a crisp. Thanks for posting this!

Iota said...

I too am proud to be pale, and make sure my kids are too.

People here seem to think that mild sunburn is part of a childhood experience of summer, like ice cream and the pool. I can't believe it. In Britain, allowing your children to burn would be close to child abuse. The NHS has done a lot to educate parents of small children - I'm sure it'll pay off in years to come. And it's so ironic - we have so little sun in comparison.

Daryl said...

I heard this on the news this morning and they were saying that people under 30 who use these devices are at higher risk.

Just bought myself a 'tube' of DuWop's Revolution SPF 15 to use on my legs which seem to never tan ... I use a higher sunscreen on face, chest, arms... I highly recommend it for anyone with ghostly pale legs

http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P211642&categoryId=C10477

Flea said...

I lived in Florida for 11 years and am still surprised by the number of people in Oklahoma who are tan year round. Much more so than in Florida. And it's not attractive. *shudder*

Jill of All Trades said...

I have always thought they were not a good thing and never used them. I don't sun now but when I was young, OH MY...my poor skin was burned to a crisp many times. Of course, we were not in the know back then. Today I stay au-nautral color.

Nancy said...

I totally agree with you on this one. Luckily my daughters only used them just before proms, and not all of the time. We live at a very high elevation and it doesn't take long to burn badly. We always use sunscreen. Thanks for this posting.

Chris R said...

Of course this will have no effect on people who's vanity trumps their own health.

Ronk said...

Say it ain't so. Who would have guessed that frying your skin with UV rays was bad for you?

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Oh Dear...
I spent years under sunbeds when I was still living in the UK... as much as 30 minutes every other night... I respect my skin a lot more now and thankfully haven't used a sunbed in 11 years.
Very worrying. XX

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I'm Irish and fair. My husband is darker and very olive. My oldest daughter's skin type falls somewhere in between. She used to go to tanning salons and I urged her to stop. One day I noticed a funky mole on her calf. The doctor told her that she was okay, but told her to stop using the tanning beds. Thank God she listened to him. When she was pregnant the mole got even scarier looking, and she was sent to a specialist that said it's not melanoma or skin cancer but her hormones are affected the mole (who knew that could happen) she's to have the mole checked every six months or so.

Here in Southern California we have a tanning salon in just about every shopping center. I hope people wake up to the dangers.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

When I was much younger I was a sun worshipper, especially living in the South, where everyone seems to have a tan.
I went to sunbeds several times, but always burned, so stopped going.
I have always thought they were dangerous, and wondered why they were not regulated or even banned.
Now I'm closer to the BIG 60 I'm grateful my skin wasn't damaged any worse than I had allowed it to become.
Pale yes, but alive !

Pat said...

I wish I'd used sunscreen more on my three sons when they were young. I'm glad my d-i-ls are using it faithfully on our little grandsons. I have a sallow skin color and tan easily, and so I only use sunscreen on my face, but I should probably use it on arms & legs too. But now I'm 61, so it's probably too late. Excellent post--a good alert and reminder to all of us.

richies said...

I've been trying to convince my wife of this for years.

An Arkies Musings

Smitten by Britain said...

Yeah, and in two years they will back track on the studies results, always happens. What bothers me about this study is it does not (from what I've heard) give details on how often you must use the tanning bed to be endangered. Is it just once, or is it every day? When they say routine use, what does that mean? I find it hard to believe that if a person used the bed once that they have an increase of 75% compared to a person who has had a bad sunburn in their life. I have a feeling we are going to find out that these numbers are a bit exaggerated.

Also, tanning beds are stronger now than they were even ten years ago. When did this study begin? Did it test sunbeds that are available now or did it follow people who used them ten or twenty years ago?

I don't think tanning beds are good but I do think that these results seem a bit irrational or exaggerated.

Lynn said...

I was a teenager before tanning beds and I wanted a tan just like all the other girls my age but I found laying out in the sun unbearably boring. When tanning beds came along I thought about it but I was sort of turned off by the idea of going somewhere, taking my clothes off and laying in one of those things so I never did. So I've always been a paleface and now I can't help feeling a little bit smug about it.

♥ Kathy♥ said...

You know I used to tan all the time. That was before it was know about the cancer risk. I work outside all day through the summer months but honestly I don't use sunscreen because when its hot the darn stuff just runs right off. That and it gets to be expensive.