“Tanning is beneficial to your health,” claims tanning salon owners and employees when the House Committee on Energy and Commerce undercover investigators called 300 tanning salons nationwide. This false claim may not fool many sun protection advocates, but the rest of the U.S. population could be easily led to believe that tanning is good for you. In actuality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Tanning, whether outdoors or in a tanning bed, can have harmful effects on your health. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation states on their website that indoor ultraviolet tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. Most people are not properly informed about the risks of using tanning beds and are putting their lives at risk without even knowing it.
During The Committee’s study, they had investigators pose as fair skinned teenage girls (over the phone) looking for information on tanning bed safety and policies. After contacting 300 salons, at least three in every state, they released these unsettling results:
1) Nearly all salons (90%) denied the known risks of indoor tanning.
2) Four out of five salons falsely claimed that indoor tanning is beneficial to a young person’s health.
3) Salons used many approaches to minimize the health risks of indoor tanning including saying, “it’s got to be safe, or else [the government] wouldn’t let us do it.”
4) Three quarters of tanning salons failed to follow FDA recommendations on tanning frequency.
The Skin Cancer Foundation, in an effort to help educate teenagers and save lives, is urging people to email letters of support urging the FDA to regulate tanning beds and ban those less than 18 year of age from using them. The SCF will then compile all emails and send them to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. You can email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Skin Cancer Foundation’s report on Congressional Report Exposes Tanning Industry’s Misleading Messaging to Teens.
Watch Chelsea’s Experience with Skin Cancer to see how misleading claims by tanning salons effect the people around us.