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Friday, 12 September 2008

Ban the tan?

Warnings and horror stories about the use of sunbeds seem to be in the news every other week these days. The vast majority of us are aware of the potential damage we could be doing to our health by using them.

These include:

Developing certain types of skin cancer – the risks appear to be greatest for the young, with the chances of developing a tumour increasing by up to 20% per decade of sunbed use before the age of 56.

Premature ageing – people tend to use sunbeds to look better but they could end up with leathery, wrinkled and sagging skin.

The eyes (in particular the cornea) are very prone to damage from tanning equipment – it is recommended that sunbed users wear protective goggles, but research shows that people may not use them even if they are provided.

The immune system – increasing evidence shows that sunbeds have an immunosuppressive effect.

Even using sunbeds just once a month is enough to double your annual dose of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The risk of skin cancer is related to lifetime exposure to UV light, and intense exposure is the most dangerous.

So, I was shocked and dismayed to come across the story of Zara Hovelsas who admits being addicted to sunbeds, despite having had skin cancer and knowing using them, could eventually kill her.

The regulation of sunbeds is something BMA Cymru Wales has been calling for, for sometime now.

We want a bill brought in which would require sunbed operators to have a licence from the local authority.

The would also cover the following:

Prevent children using sunbeds

Protect adults from over-exposure

Ensure sunbed users are supervised

End the use of coin-operated machines

Ensure sessions are monitored and limited

Provide health risk information in parlours

Ensure premises are inspected

Maybe this would go some way to stop other people getting addicted, like Zara Hovelsas.

1 comment:

  1. I've got my suspicions, would it be fair to say that the number of tanning centres is related to deprevation? As any analysis been done on this?

    Gary Lewis


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