Solariums (also called solaria, sunbeds or tanning booths) are fitted with light tubes that release concentrated artificial UV radiation.
UV radiation is a type of energy produced naturally by the sun, or artificially in solariums.
Solariums are not a safe way to tan. Whether UV radiation comes from the sun or a solarium, it can cause:
damage to your skin that significantly increases your risk of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma;
burning, skin irritation, swelling, blistering and pain;
premature ageing of the skin (wrinkles, blotches, skin thickening); and
damage to your eyes.
A tan is much more than skin turning brown. Even a light tan is a sign that your skin has been exposed to too much UV radiation and that damage has occurred to the cells below.
Tanning in solariums can be especially dangerous as the UV radiation from solariums can be much stronger than the midday summer sun.
Research shows that people who use solariums before the age of 35 increase their risk of developing melanoma by 87% and the risk of squamous cell carcinoma is more than twice that of non-users regardless of age. Each year in Australia, as many as 280 new melanomas, over 40 melanoma related deaths, and some 2,500 new squamous cell carcinomas are caused by solarium use.
On 4th February 2012 NSW Minister of Environment, The Hon Robyn Parker MP, announced that solaria will be banned in NSW from December 2014. On October 25th 2012 the South Australian Government announced a ban on solaria effective 2015 and on December 13th 2012 – The Victorian Government announced a ban on solaria effective December 31st 2014.
Until the ban becomes effective solariums in NSW are subject to regulations introduced in 2009. In accordance with the Regulation persons under 18 years of age and persons with skin type l (very fair) are already banned from using solariums in NSW.
Jay Allen does not recommend using a solarium for the purposes of a sun tan for any reason.
Did you know a 20-minute session on a sunbed is equivalent to spending a day at the beach? http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/soul+happiness/wellbeing/the+danger+of+sunbeds,8641
Tanning industry exposed: Evidence demonstrates link between indoor tanning and skin cancer, dermatologists committed to educating public on risks http://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/tanning-industry-exposed-evidence-demonstrates-link-between-indoor-tanning-and-skin-cancer-dermatologists-committed-to-educating-public-on-risks
Short-wavelength UVB (280-315 nm) has been recognized for some time as carcinogenic in experimental animals, and there is increasing evidence that longer-wavelength UVA (315-400 nm) used in sunbeds, which penetrates more deeply into the skin, also contributes to the induction of cancer. A study conducted in Norway and Sweden showed a significant increase in the risk of malignant melanoma among women who had regularly used sunbeds. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs287/en/
122 businesses that offer UV tanning services in NSW is 122.
The business type break down as follows:
Solaria only 27
Gyms/fitness centres 35
Other mixed business 6
• Ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices are classed as group 1 carcinogens – that is ‘Carcinogenic to Humans’ according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer – this group includes asbestos and tobacco.
• Research shows that using solariums before the age of 35 boosts the risk of melanoma by 87%1.
• Exposure to indoor tanning beds is also associated with a 67% increase in the risk of squamous cell carcinoma and a 29% increase in the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
• Australia is the melanoma capital of the world. Melanoma is the most common cancer among 15-44 year olds in Australia
• Skin cancer already cost the health system around $300 million annually. Banning solariums will reduce this cost and save money through the health system.
281 melanoma cases linked to solarium use each year.
43 melanoma related deaths linked to solarium use each year.
2,572 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma linked to solarium use each year.
Solariums emit ultraviolet radiation up to five times stronger than the sun.
Solariums emit UVA and UVB radiation, both known causes of skin cancer.
87 of 89 solariums audited in NSW since September 2009 failed to meet new standards
Professor Simon Chapman
Recent studies have found individuals who have used solaria have a 22% increased risk of developing melanoma compared with those who have never used solaria. The risk is elevated by 98% among people who first used solaria under the age of 35 years.
Following publicity over the death from melanoma of Clare Oliver in 2007, Australian governments introduced state-based regulations to change compliance with the Australian Standard, AS/NZS 2635:2008 Solaria for cosmetic purposes from voluntary to mandatory. Studies undertaken in 2003 and 2006 indicated that industry compliance with the previous voluntary standard was low.
Two audits of all solaria in metropolitan Sydney conducted in 2009 and again in 2010 found 87/89 (98% in 2009) establishments were non-compliant with the regulations with 41/73 (42%) being non-compliant at the follow-up survey. No data are available on non-metropolitan compliance or from other states.
See: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/radiation/09814solicarus.pdf and http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/radiation/10310solaurora.pdf
This data demonstrates that the solaria industry has many operators who daily disregard the law, despite repeated publicity and warnings.
Clare Oliver’s dying wish is being violated daily by this travesty. In 2006, 1o238 Australians were diagnosed with melanoma – 3870 were under 60, and 2044 were under 40. In all, 1238 died, 335 aged under 60. Solaria expose people to turbocharged UV doses that have no place in any community that takes cancer prevention seriously.
The solaria industry is a tiny industry where its operators have other alternatives, such as spray tans. It is time the curtain fell on this deadly industry.
Professor Simon Chapman
BA (Hons) (UNSW), PhD (USyd), FASSA
Professor Public Health
Director of Research
Associate Dean Communications