Many expats love their tanning booths, especially during the winter doldrums, but there is accumulating evidence that they do cause skin cancer. Last June, the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) officially elevated tanning beds to its highest cancer risk category – “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1). Tanning beds had previously been classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
They did this based on the latest evidence which shows that “tanning bed use raises the risk of melanoma of the skin by 75% when use starts before the age of 30.” Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and can kill young healthy people within months. Most doctor groups recommend no use at any age, but especially under age 18.
The new recommendations also comment that UVA light definitely is also a risk for cancer; previous opinions were less clear.
The bottom line: understand the risks when you use a tanning booth, and definitely don’t let your children use one!
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