Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 16:55 EDT

Study Contends that Health Benefits of Ultraviolet Radiation Outweigh the Risks

October 27, 2011

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In a Review Article covering 30 years of studies published in the journal Public Health Nutrition (September 2011), noted Norwegian researcher Johan Moan concluded that the overall health benefits of an improved vitamin D status may be more important than the possibility of increased CMM (cutaneous malignant melanoma) risk resulting from controlled UV exposure.

Professor Moan, a member of The Royal Norwegian Academy of Science, and his colleagues reviewed data published between 1981 and 2011 that addressed the relative risk for cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) associated with sunbed use, vitamin D and UV effects on human health.

In their review the researchers said, “Sun exposure is commonly supposed to be the main cause of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) in most populations. However, the matter is disputed.” Dr. Moan also concluded, “It can be estimated that increased sun exposure to the Norwegian population might at worst result in 200-300 more CMM deaths per year, but it would elevate the vitamin D status by about 25 nmol/l and might result in 4,000 fewer internal cancers and about 3,000 fewer cancer deaths overall.”

Professor Moan further states: “Our own findings that sun exposure, probably via vitamin D generation, seems to protect against melanomas on shielded body sites, were recently strongly supported by the findings of Dixon et al (http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/) indicating that calcitriol protects against UV-induced skin carcinogenesis.” Professor Moan added, “Due to the fear of skin cancer, health authorities warn against the use of tanning beds, but this statement, along with recommended Vitamin D levels, should be reevaluated.”

John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association, said, “This supports what many vitamin D researchers have said for years, that vitamin D generated by ultraviolet light, either from the sun or a sunbed, can be part of supporting good health. This benefit is important and should be considered against any possible risks. We, of course, tell people that moderation is the key and urge them to always avoid over exposure or sunburns.”

“While people who live in Norway are typically very fair skinned and are at greater risk of developing skin cancer, I think it is fair to say that Dr. Moan’s findings apply to the U.S. population as well.”

“This type of research also provides additional information about the health benefits and risks of vitamin D and ultraviolet light and should help inform the public policy debate in both the regulatory and legislative arenas,” Overstreet added.

To see the Moan Review Article, use this link: Vitamin D Sun Sunbeds and Health.pdf

Dr. Johan Moan conducts his research at the Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, The Norwegian Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

The Indoor Tanning Association is a national trade association representing all major manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of indoor sun tanning equipment as well as professional sun tanning facilities nationwide. The industry includes approximately 18,000 small businesses employing approximately 120,000 people.

SOURCE Indoor Tanning Association

Source: PR Newswire