Cancer from prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays is understood as a given by most Americans, but it’s only recently that tanning beds have been confirmed as bringing with them their own risk of skin cancer. Seems the ultraviolet rays that the tanning beds give off to produce that nice skin tone actually make their way into the various levels of the human skin causing skin damage and in some cases, cancer.
Research Shows Connection Between Tanning Beds and Cancer
This was confirmed in a new research study released in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology last week. You can read the entire article at the Journal’s web site, written by Angela Tewari, Robert P Sarkany, and Antony R Young and entitled “UVA1 Induces Cyclobutane Pyrimidine Dimers but Not 6-4 Photoproducts in Human Skin In Vivo.” Earlier studies on the issue exist as well, such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s 2006 study entitled, “The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: A systematic review.”
Of course, most of the news this past week has not been able this new research finding; instead, most of the media play has been about the State of California issuing a total ban on anyone not of legal age (i.e., all minors) from using tanning beds.
Should Teenagers Be Allowed to Use Tanning Beds?
California’s Governor Jerry Brown isn’t waiting for courts or the Food & Drug Administration to do something about the dangers of tanning beds: California has banned tanning bed use by minors, period.
What the federal government (including the FDA) as well as state governments (like Illinois and Indiana) will do about tanning beds remains to be seen. Right now, a bill is pending in the Illinois Senate to regulate the use of tanning beds by those under the age of 17 (follow its progress online here).
Tanning Bed Product Manufacturers Duty to Warn?
It’s clear that there is a connection between getting a tan using a tanning bed and increasing the chances of cancer. For teens outside California, the danger still exists alongside the temptation to tan indoors.
Which means that parents must protect their kids from tanning beds, and part of that protection may be learning the legal ramifications of tanning bed manufacturers and tanning salons allowing young people to use tanning beds. With the research that exists today, it is clear that the manufacturers, distributors, and providers of tanning beds know that this danger resides with their product. If they allow individuals to be harmed by a tanning bed, then products liability laws will bring them to justice.
Be careful out there.