Aug 13

Tanning beds finally recognized as a top cancer risk

Going to the tanning salon this week? Might as well skip it and take a little arsenic. That, according to the AMA, is because a recent meta-analysis of various studies on tanning beds has finally caused the World Health Organization to elevate UV-radiation emitted from tanning beds to their top cancer risk category. This lofty position is shared among the likes of arsenic, mustard gas, asbestos, plutonium and, yes, even tobacco and mixed alcohol.

tanning beds cancer risk

WHO elevates tanning beds to top cancer risk

Studies show those who use tanning beds regularly are 8 times more likely to develop melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, and the risk of skin cancer is elevated 75% if the sun bed user starts before the age of 30. These findings come as no surprise to most people. My mom used to say even in the ‘80s that “those beds should be called cancer beds!” Moms are smart that way.

But, this news is important because, for years, proponents of tanning beds used the argument that the primarily UVA radiation emitted from tanning beds was less harmful than sunlight which has broader spectrum UV rays.

In fact, while we have long known that UVB rays are harmful, understanding of the harmful effects of UVA radiation has recently grown and is being reflected in changes in sunscreen formulations. So, while some in their invulnerable youths will continue to seek out the tans that only a UV bed can give (just as they’ll continue to smoke and do other things they’ll regret down the road), it can now officially be said that they were warned.

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4 Comments so far

  1. betty September 30th, 2009 2:51 pm

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention, even though I am still tempted to go tanning indoors and outdoors.

  2. admin November 1st, 2009 10:58 am

    Oh, Betty. Don’t lose our number 😉

  3. best self tanner October 2nd, 2010 9:17 pm

    I read and heard some of the effect of going Tanning Bed news. It has a high risk to have skin cancer. will the user get affected if use the tanning beds less than 8 times?

  4. admin October 4th, 2010 8:55 am

    Unfortunately, there is no magic number of safe tanning bed exposures. Of course, the damage to skin is cumulative and it makes sense that someone who has frequent and repeated exposures will be worse off than someone who has just been a few times. Your best bet is to avoid it from now on and make sure to take care of your skin. See a dermatologist or plastic surgeon if there are any concerns and check your skin health regularly.

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