I have been meaning to do this post for a while, and seeing as the weather is starting to warm up, people are starting to “prep” for summer, now is as good a time as any. Many of you know this, but most of the web sites we build at work have to do with health education. Skin cancer prevention in particular. In fact, I just looked and almost exactly a year ago I posted a general sun safety post! Damn, I am nothing if not regular.
But today I get to wear my Oliver Stone hat and rail against something devious as well as dangerous. The tanning industry. Yes, pretty much next to tobacco, they are quickly becoming one of the most deceitful, purposely malicious and hurtful industry there is in relation to public health. Discounting Wal-Mart of course.
– The United States Department of Health & Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogen.
– Indoor tanning lamps emit UVA and UVB radiation at levels that are far higher than the sun. New, high-pressure sunlamps emit doses that can be as much as 15 times that of the sun.
– The indoor tanning industry has an estimated revenue of $5 billion, a fivefold increase from 1992.
– There are 25,000 indoor tanning facilities, many are well-positioned around high schools and other places of easy youth access.
– 95% of tanners exceed the limits for UV exposure.
– Tanning facilities are poorly regulated, infrequently inspected and parental consent is not enforced.
– Tanning facilities also frequently give their customer’s false information about the effects of UV, and/or marketing gimmicks that makes them tan at far higher levels than are safe.
“But I need a base tan.”
– A tan is your skin’s way of shielding itself from the sun. It’s all skin damage.
– Tans have only an SPF 4 and are not protective.
– UV causes at least 90% of all skin cancer.
– Melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) incidence increased 120% in the U.S. from 1973 to 1994.
OK, now that you feel like you are back in a boring high school biology class, I am SERIOUS about this! And not just because I get in big trouble if I walk into work with even a whiff of a tan and I want you all to be as lily white as I am.
It really is something I am passionate about.
In the immortal words of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, “Let’s be careful out there.”