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New Study Deems Tanning Beds as 'Potential Carcinogens'

Posted: July 29, 2009

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Most lights used in tanning beds give off mainly ultraviolet radiation, which cause skin and eye cancer, according to the International Agency for Cancer Research.

The classification of tanning beds as carcinogenic was disputed by Kathy Banks, chief executive of The Sunbed Association, a European trade association of tanning bed makers and operators. "The fact that is continuously ignored is that there is no proven link between the responsible use of sunbeds and skin cancer," Banks said in a statement. She said most users of tanning beds use them less than 20 times a year.

But as use of tanning beds has increased among people under 30, doctors have seen a parallel rise in the numbers of young people with skin cancer. In Britain, melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, is now the leading cancer diagnosed in women in their 20s. Normally, skin cancer rates are highest in people older than 75.

Previous studies found younger people who regularly use tanning beds are eight times more likely to get melanoma than people who have never used them. In the past, WHO warned people younger than 18 to stay away from tanning beds.

Cogliano cautioned that ultraviolet radiation is not healthy, whether it comes from a tanning bed or from the sun. The American Cancer Society advises people to try bronzing or self-tanning creams instead of tanning beds.