Cancer and Tanning Booths: Authorities Demand their Closure

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Health officials call for a ban of Tanning booths for causing cancer

The National Health Security Agency (ANSES) asked “the public authorities to take any measure likely to stop the exposure of the population to artificial UV.

Are the days of tanning booths counted? In an opinion issued Wednesday , the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) asked “the public authorities to take any measure likely to stop the exposure of the population artificial UV ” before the risk of cancer “proven”.

“We recommend stopping the activity related to artificial tanning, and also stopping the sale of devices delivering UV for aesthetic purposes including individuals,” told AFP Olivier Merckel, head of the risk assessment unit for physical agents at ANSES, which followed the expertise.

In an earlier opinion in 2014, ANSES recommended “the eventual cessation of all commercial use of artificial UV tanning” and considered that the latest regulation (2013) “was a partial and insufficient response to the proven risk of skin cancer for users “.

“We can not wait,” said Olivier Merckel.

“The scientific data accumulate, there is no longer any doubt, we have solid evidence, the cancer risk is proven, we have data on the risks for young people, for the entire population, now we recommend a action by public authorities.”

Dermatologists call for ban since 2005

The prohibition of tanning booths has been requested since 2015 by dermatologists, the Academy of Medicine and even senators, but not yet followed by the government, which has just hardened their regulation.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared “certain carcinogens” artificial radiation since 2009.

ANSES notes that “no limit value of irradiance or dose can be set to protect users”.

“People who have used tanning booths at least once before the age of 35 increase the risk of developing skin melanoma by 59%,” the agency said.

“In France, it has been estimated that 43% of melanomas in young people could be attributed to use of these cabins before the age of 30 years.”

No benefit, cancer risk proven

Olivier Merckel reminded that the regulation prohibited the practice of tanning cabins to minors, “but the controls show that there is still a significant fraction of the under 18 years who practice it”.

According to a recent calculation published by the Agency, in France in 2015, among adults over 30, 10,340 cases of melanomas could be attributed to sun exposure and 382 cases of melanomas to exposure to tanning equipment (1.5% of melanoma cases in men and 4.6% in women).

In addition to the risk of cancer, artificial radiation not only “does not prepare the skin” for tanning, “does not protect against sunburn”, “does not allow a significant intake of vitamin D” but causes aging of the skin ” four times faster with tanning lamps than with the sun “.

“UV aesthetic end benefit no profit,” says Olivier Merckel.

Brazil and Australia have banned tanning booths

According to the National Union of Tanning Professionals in the cabin, “the activity has been halved since 2009 and the controversy over the risks of UV”. There are currently 4500 establishments in France including 300 specialized tanning centers, the others offering it as a secondary activity.

63% of the 982 cabins checked in 2016 by the DGCCRF were found to be non-compliant due to security breaches or non-compliance, which prohibits advertising and promotions.

Some devices had not been subject to any technical control for 7 years, or were operated by staff without any training or aesthetic diploma.

Brazil and Australia have banned tanning booths, reports the head of the risk assessment unit.

“Should we delete them? Convert them back? It is not up to us to decide but to the public authorities.”

The Ministry of Health, contacted by AFP, has not yet defined its decision after the opinion sent a few days ago.

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