Sunbeds 'raise risk of skin cancer by 75%'

The Government could review laws on sunbeds after a report revealed that the tanning machines can increase the risk of skin tumours by 75 per cent.

A study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices were more dangerous than previously suggested.

The research, published in the latest edition of The Lancet Oncology medical journal, found the risk was greatest to children and young adults.



"The risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75% when use of tanning devices starts before 30 years of age," the report said. "Additionally, several case-control studies provide consistent evidence of a positive association between the use of ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices and ocular melanoma (eye cancer)."

In response a spokesman for the Department of Health said that the Government may look at new laws to exercise tighter control of the use of the machines.

He said: "Sunbeds can be dangerous - we must ensure that people who use them do so safely. If necessary we will look at new laws to protect young people.

"We commissioned a report from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment to give us a better understanding of the issues around sunbeds. This report was published in June and we are considering the recommendations in full."

The report authors said ultraviolet-emitting sunbeds should be moved to the "highest cancer risk category" and labelled as "carcinogenic to humans", meaning they tended to be linked to cancer.

Previously, it had been classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

But The Sunbed Association (TSA) disputed the research and said there was "no proven link" that responsible sunbed use led to skin cancer.

"TSA would dispute the IARC classification that sunbeds are 'carcinogenic to humans'," said TSA chief executive Kathy Banks.

"The fact that is continuously ignored is that there is no proven link between the responsible use of sunbeds and skin cancer.

"However, you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given the amount of mis-information issued by various organisations and subsequently carried by the media.

"The relationship between ultraviolet exposure and an increased risk of developing skin cancer is only likely to arise where over-exposure has taken place. This outcome would be the same whether burning takes place on a sunbed or on a beach or in a park or garden in natural sunlight."

She added: "At the moment, it is not clear to us what this re-classification means. IARC is an expert committee that makes recommendations to the World Health Organisation. We will be following this matter up with them for more information."

Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said it was "high time" that the tanning industry was regulated.

"We know that ultraviolet radiation causes skin cancer, and sunbeds create a tan by emitting UVR, so we welcome the recognition that sunbeds are carcinogenic," she said.

"It is high time that steps were taken to regulate the industry, to prevent children using sunbeds and to ensure that sunbeds are subject to health warnings like other known carcinogens."

The research was produced by Dr Fatiha El Ghissassi and staff at the IARC.

More than 2,600 people die from skin cancer each year in the UK, Cancer Research UK said.

Most skin cancer deaths - more than 2,000 a year - are from malignant melanoma, with the majority of non-melanoma skin cancer deaths in elderly people.

The charity said more than half of people who died from malignant melanoma were younger than 70.

Jessica Harris, the charity's health information officer, said: "The link between sunbeds and skin cancer has been convincingly shown in a number of scientific studies now so we are very pleased that IARC have upgraded sunbeds to the highest risk category.

"This backs up Cancer Research UK's advice to avoid sunbeds completely for cosmetic purposes. They have no health benefits and we know that they increase the risk of cancer.

"Given the dangers of sunbeds, we want the Government to act now to ban under 18s from using sunbeds, close salons that aren't supervised by trained staff and ensure information about the risks of using sunbeds is given to all customers."

News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Portfolio Analyst/ PMO

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Systems Analyst (Technical, UML, UI)

    £30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

    Senior Private Client Solicitor - Gloucestershire

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn