Study: Tanning beds definitely cause cancer

Tanning bed
Tanning bed. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

(AP) -- International cancer experts have moved tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation into the top cancer risk category, deeming both to be as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas. For years, scientists have described tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation as "probable carcinogens."

A new analysis of about 20 studies concludes the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30. Experts also found that all types of ultraviolet radiation caused worrying mutations in mice, proof the radiation is carcinogenic. Previously, only one type of ultraviolet radiation was thought to be lethal.

The new classification means tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco, the and chimney sweeping, among others.

The research was published online in the medical journal Lancet Oncology on Wednesday, by experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, the cancer arm of the .

"People need to be reminded of the risks of sunbeds," said Vincent Cogliano, one of the cancer researchers. "We hope the prevailing culture will change so teens don't think they need to use sunbeds to get a tan."

Most lights used in tanning beds give off mainly , 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, rates are highest in people over 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. The American Society advises people to try bronzing or self-tanning creams instead of tanning beds.


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User comments

Jul 29, 2009
Now study aspartame.

Jul 29, 2009
Doubt the FDA will be too keen on that.

Back in june 07, coca cola filed 27 patent applications to use a new natural sweetner "Rebiana", ofc by the ingredients still in coke we can see that failed. Rebiana (Stevia) is only approved as a dietry supplement and not a food additive.

I wonder why a carcinogenic chemical is safe to use in food but a daisy extract isn't??


Jul 29, 2009
Why not just forget about manipulating the color of our skin just for the sake of vanity. There's a natural tanning mechanism already in place. People may remember it if they go outside and look up!

Jul 29, 2009
so we should filter the sunlight through water bongs?

Jul 30, 2009
Dosage makes the poison.

"The American Cancer Society advises people to try bronzing or self-tanning creams instead of tanning beds. "

What is the cancer risk for such creams?

Yeah, doseage makes the poision so let me know how the cancer feels in 20years when you've ingested heaps of the said poision! Sun creams are stupid imo. They block out uv light which our bodies need to produce vitamin D. If you burn, stay in the shade or eat heaps of berries and gradually condition ur skin to handle the sunlight. Filtering out a necessary vitamin producing light will make your body unhealthy and prolly rot your mind, which is ideal for a consumer nation. Or ofc you can eat chemical supplements called multivitamins, again let me know how well that cancer developes in future years!

Jul 31, 2009
Now study aspartame.

Only if you pay for it.

(Aspartame and glutamate are some of the most studied substances in history)

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