July 6, 2006

EU warns “barbecue” sunbeds may cause cancer

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The young and fair skinned tan lovers
should give sunbeds a wide berth because they can cause skin
cancer, the European Commission said on Thursday.

The European Union's executive arm said its scientific
committee on consumer products concluded that using sunbeds,
tanning lamps and other ultraviolet radiation devices is likely
to increase the risk of malignant melanoma, a skin cancer.

"Currently, apparently, there is no limit for manufacturers
producing sunbeds when it comes to the maximum level of
ultraviolet radiation," European Commission spokesman Gregor
Kreuzhuber told a news briefing.

"So basically what could happen is that you could have a
product that is basically barbecuing you because there is no
upper limit which controls that," Kreuzhuber said.

The committee found that in Britain, an estimated 100
people a year may die because of sunbed use, and most at risk
are people with freckles, moles, a family history of melanoma
and the young.

"Thus UVR tanning devices should not be used by individuals
under the age of 18 years," the Commission said.

EU rules say low voltage devices must be safe and the
Commission will ask member states and the tanning industry to
make sure there are warnings to avoid misuse.

The executive will also agencies that certify products to
introduce ultraviolet radiation limits.

The main source of UVR exposure is the sun, but some for
some people there is substantial exposure from sunbeds.

UVR tanning devices were not in widespread use before the
1990s, and it will take years before the role of the UVR
tanning devices in inducing skin cancer becomes fully apparent,
the Commission said.