Tanning beds particularly dangers for teens says new study

 

Melbourne, Australia

Teenage girls trading the risk of deadly melanoma for a year-round tan have helped spur a global backlash against the tanning bed industry.

Health officials from Brasilia to Sydney are banning tanning salons amid evidence that they cause malignant lesions. Use of tanning beds causes all three types of skin cancer, especially for people younger than 25, a study published in October from the University of California, San Francisco said.

Doctors say the research, published in the British Medical Journal, should prompt tougher warnings on ultraviolet radiation-emitting tanning machines. The salons support $5 billion in U.S. annual economic activity, according to the Food and Drug Administration. In May, Vermont followed California, banning teens under 18 from indoor tanning. In Europe, laws prohibiting teens from tanning beds have been enacted in 22 countries, 18 of them since 2009. Age limits in Australia may have forced the closing of a third of sunbed operators there.

"We're seeing an uptick in melanoma cases and deaths among young women," said J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer with the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society. "Are we going to look back in 15 to 20 years from now and wish we'd been more forceful about moving this process forward?"

The FDA has been reviewing its classification of tanning beds since 2010. The machines are subject to general controls such as establishment registration requirements and quality system regulation, spokeswomanMichelle Bolek said.

"This is an important public health issue and we're committed to providing consumers with an update soon on the agency's next steps on tanning bed regulation," she said.

The FDA currently ranks tanning machines as class-I devices — as safe to use, in other words, as elastic bandages. Few other health groups share that position. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2009 added ultraviolet radiation from tanning machines to a danger category of carcinogens that includes radon and plutonium.

Indoor tanning before age 35 increases the risk for melanoma by 75 percent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report in May.

Brazil banned cosmetic tanning three years ago. Two Australian states have enacted legislation to ban salons by 2015 and a third plans to introduce a similar bill within months.

Royal Philips Electronics, Europe's largest maker of medical equipment behind Siemens, was a major supplier of products for UV tanning until recently. The Amsterdam-based company discontinued its product portfolio between 2009 and 2010, said Jeannet Harpe, a spokeswoman for Philips Lighting.

"The business is becoming more and more tainted as the evidence becomes clearer," said Craig Sinclair, head of the WHO's Collaborative Centre for UV Radiation in Melbourne.

The number of indoor tanning operators in the city plunged 67 percent since a law in 2008 restricted access to adults 18 years and older. Shutting down solariums completely would avoid one in six melanomas in Australians ages 18 to 29, according to Victoria state's Cancer Council.

At Body Bronze, a chain of 22 salons in Melbourne, a casual eight-minute session in a tanning bed costs A$15 ($16), while a package of 50 sessions goes for A$450, according to a pricelist available at an outlet in Prahran, an inner-city suburb.

Every day in the United States, tanning beds are used by more than 1 million people, mostly Caucasian women ages 16 to 29, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Of the 28 million Americans who go to a tanning salon at least once a year, 2.3 million are teens.

More than 3.5 million skin cancers in 2 million people are diagnosed annually in the U.S., according to the academy, a doctors group in Schaumburg, Ill. This year, 81,240 melanoma cases will be diagnosed and 12,190 people will probably succumb to the malignancy, the American Cancer Society estimates. Women have a 1 in 377 chance of melanoma by age 39. For men, it's 1 in 677.

Ninety percent of all skin cancers are associated with radiation exposure mainly from the sun, according to the International Skin Cancer Foundation in New York. The use of tanning beds compounds the impact of sun exposure because the radiation they emit is stronger than the long-wave UVA and shortwave UVB rays that reach the earth naturally.

UVA output from indoor tanning devices is four times higher and UVB output is twice as high as noon sunlight in Washington D.C. during summer, the CDC said in its May report.

"Every bit of extra UV exposure increases risk," said Bruce Armstrong, professor of public health at the University of Sydney.

Both types of radiation can weaken the immune system, increasing vulnerability to cancer as well as to other diseases, according to a study in the British Medical Journal in July. Tanning lamps induce the types of DNA damage to the skin associated with cancer, the researchers said.

"Each person has a certain amount of capital that protects them from cancer," said Beatrice Secretan, a scientist at the WHO's cancer-research agency. "If you burn that capital too quickly, you are in danger of developing cancer. The lighter the skin, the more at risk you are."

A 2010 survey found 5.6 percent of American adults had used indoor tanning in the previous 12 months. Use was highest among young white women, with almost one in three in the 18-to-25- year-old age group having tanned indoors during the prior year. A 2010 study of 1,167 melanoma cases in Minnesota found indoor tanning use was common among 63 percent of patients.

Catherine Olsen, a senior research officer with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, reviewed the research in the British Medical Journal in October in which scientists analyzed pooled data from 12 studies and found exposure to indoor tanning increased the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent.

The so-called meta-analysis yielded "irrefutable" evidence that sunbeds caused all three types of skin cancer, not just the most aggressive one known as melanoma, she said.

The emerging research on the harm from indoor tanning is beginning to resonate in the U.S., where in cities such as San Diego, sunbed salons outnumber Starbucks coffee outlets and McDonald's restaurants. Thirty-three U.S. states have laws restricting access to indoor tanning under a certain age — typically 14, 16 or 18 years, the CDC said in May.

"It's a hodge-podge across the United States," said Martin Weinstock, chief of dermatology at the Providence VA Medical Center in Rhode Island.

"The tanning industry does have a lot of a money and, apparently, political power," said Weinstock, chairman of the American Cancer Society's skin cancer advisory committee. "Though they don't have much in the way of scientific argument, they do their best to obfuscate."

One example came earlier this year after researchers at England's Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine wrote a letter to the editor of the International Journal of Cancer in June saying they had found no statistically significant evidence that sunbeds increase melanoma risk in a study. The research wasn't designed to register a small association between the two, only a large one, said co-author Timothy Bishop, chairman of the Leeds Cancer Research UK Centre.

The Tanning Shop, a British chain of 80 salons, responded to the findings by releasing a statement hailing "definitive results from clinical research" that proved "there is no link between sunbed use and melanoma."

The Leeds researchers don't support that interpretation of their findings, said Bishop, adding that he was "extremely disappointed" with the way the study had been portrayed.

Conflicting reports mean "there's still the perception out there that it's safer" to tan in a salon, according to Olsen from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. "But it's not the case at all."

 

— With assistance from Makiko Kitamura in London, Maaike Noordhuis in Amsterdam and Anna Edney in Washington.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?