Tanning beds have been around for decades, but recent television shows like “Jersey Shore” have highlighted the excessive use of indoor tanning beds by many young adults – the very age group that is most vulnerable to the medical problems caused by tanning bed use. Not only have tanning beds been shown to cause all three types of cancer, but, according to a study published in October from the University of California, San Francisco, the use of tanning beds is particularly dangerous for those users who are younger than 25.
The study revealed that indoor tanning is responsible for more than 170,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancers in the United States each year. Moreover, the research showed that young adults who use tanning beds before age 25 have a significantly higher risk of developing basal cell carcinomas compared to those who never use the tanning beds.
Federal officials seem to acknowledge that tanning beds are dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report in May that indoor tanning before age 35 increases the risk for melanoma by 75 percent and the FDA has been reviewing the classification of tanning beds since 2010. Currently, tanning beds are classified as a Class-I device, but several health groups disagree with that classification. For instance, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2009 added ultraviolet radiation from tanning machines to a danger category of carcinogens that includes radon and plutonium.
Doctors are using the research, which was published in the British Medical Journal, to urge U.S. health officials to demand legislative actions, including stricter warnings on tanning beds that emit ultraviolet radiation. In fact, some states have already taken legislative action to curb the use of tanning beds by its most vulnerable citizens. Vermont and California have both banned indoor tanning bed use by teens under the age of 18.
According to this Bloomberg article, many countries are taking legislative action to prevent the use of tanning beds. For instance, health officials in Brasilia and Sydney have banned tanning salons based on evidence that tanning beds can cause cancer. In Europe, laws prohibiting teens from using tanning beds have been enacted in 22 countries, 18 of them since 2009. Brazil banned cosmetic tanning three years ago and two Australian states have enacted legislation that will ban tanning salons by 2015, with a third Australian state planning to introduce a similar bill within months.
The Chicago personal injury law firm of Ankin Law Offices, LLC is committed to protecting the victims of dangerous and defective products and to promoting consumer safety. If you would like to learn more about tanning bed dangers, contact one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys at (312) 600-0000.