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THE young and fair skinned tan lovers should give sunbeds a wide berth because they can cause skin cancer, the European Commission said yesterday.
The European Union's executive arm said its scientific committee on consumer products concluded that using sunbeds, tanning lamps and other ultraviolet radiation devices is likely to increase the risk of malignant melanoma, a skin cancer. “Currently, apparently, there is no limit for manufacturers producing sunbeds when it comes to the maximum level of ultraviolet radiation”, European Commission spokesperson Gregor Kreuzhuber told a news briefing. “So basically what could happen is that you could have a product that is basically barbecuing you because there is no upper limit which controls that”, Kreuzhuber said. EU rules say low voltage devices must be safe and the Commission will ask member states and the tanning industry to make sure there are warnings to avoid misuse. The executive will also ask agencies that certify products to introduce ultraviolet radiation limits.
The committee found that in Britain, an estimated 100 people a year may die because of sunbed use, and most at risk are people with freckles, moles, a family history of melanoma and the young. “Thus UVR tanning devices should not be used by individuals under the age of 18 years”, the Commission said.
The main source of UVR exposure is the sun, but some for some people there is substantial exposure from sunbeds.
UVR tanning devices were not in widespread use before the 1990s, and it will take years before the role of the UVR tanning devices in inducing skin cancer becomes fully apparent, the Commission said. The Balearic Government has published a guide advising on the precautions to take when sunbathing.
Among the advice given is that you should not sunbathe between the hours of 12 and 4pm as the radiation from the sun is more intense at this time.
They also advise the use of protective creams with a minimum protection factor of 15, to be applied 30 minutes before going out into the sun and reapplied every 2 hours while you are in the sun.