June 19, 2009

Panel wants teens banned from tanning beds

Tanning beds should be off limits to people under age 18, British health officials studying cancer said Friday.

A growing number of British teenage girls reportedly are using tanning beds, leaving themselves at risk of melanoma, the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment said.

Each year, an estimated 370 cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Britain with at least 100 deaths directly attributed to the use of tanning beds, said Alex Elliott, the committee's chairman.

Tanning beds, improperly used, also can cause disfiguring non-malignant carcinomas that require hospitalization and plastic surgery, Elliott said.

The committee has called for legislation to regulate tanning salons, including banning users under age 18, The Guardian reported Friday.

The legislation calls for tanning salon staff to be trained, salons licensed and customers given detailed information on the health risks of sun beds.