Australia Bans Tanning Beds Nationally
Australia, home of some of the highest skin-cancer rates in the world, recently announced a complete ban on tanning beds. Skin cancer led to 2,000 deaths in 2011 in Australia and is responsible for 80% of all new cancer cases diagnosed each year. In light of these statistics, five of Australia’s eight states and territories plan on completely banning tanning beds by 2015; New South Wales is implementing the ban at the end of the year.
The U.S. has made similar movements, as nearly half of all cancers in the U.S. are skin cancers and melanoma is on the rise. The FDA proposed warnings on tanning beds and promotional materials, and restricting use to people 18 years old and over. Age enforcements have already been implemented in California, Vermont, and New Jersey. In addition, Brazil restricted the use of tanning beds completely in 2009.
While tanning bed use rose in the late 1990s and early 2000s, more current medical studies exposing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging caused a decrease in popularity. A recent study cited by the Victoria government stated that 1 in 6 melanomas found in people between 18 and 29 years old would be prevented if tanning beds were banned.
The World Health Organization rates ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds as Class 1 carcinogen, alongside cigarettes and exposure to harmful chemicals and X-ray radiation. While salon owners argue that tanning beds offer a controlled environment to monitor ultraviolet intake, it is clear that the link to skin cancer presents too high of a risk. Victoria’s health minister, David Davis, stated emphatically, “The clear weight of medical evidence supports a ban.”