Study: Indoor tanning a certain skin cancer trigger
Using a tanning bed regularly is a deadly as taking arsenic, a shocking study to be published Wednesday says.
The report found that the risk of skin cancer jumped by 75 percent when tanners started regularly bronzing on tanning beds before the age of 30.
“Tanning beds cause cancer, and there is no longer any legitimate excuse to allow their use,” said Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
Because of the findings, the UV rays emitted by tanning beds are being reclassified as a top trigger for skin cancer, similar tobacco and hepatitis B.
“I always knew it wasn’t good for your skin,” said Alice Passuello, 23, an occasional tan bed user from the Upper West Side. “Definitely 75 percent risk of cancer is not that encouraging and not worth the risk.”
The report, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a French institute run by the World Health Organization, are being published online today in the medical journal Lancet Oncology. Researchers deemed tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas.
The tanning industry has said that the bulbs used in bronzing beds expose sun-seekers to a safer form of ultraviolet rays. The report, a review of 20 previous studies about tanning and cancer risk, disputes that claim.
This year, nearly 70,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 130 New Yorkers died from the disease in 2007, the most recent city figures.
Tanning bed use has increased among those under 30, as has the numbers of young people with skin cancer.
The Indoor Tanning Association, a trade group, said the classification change made tanning beds as dangerous as sunlight.
“The ITA has always emphasized the importance of moderation when it comes to UV light from either the sun or a tanning bed,” said Dan Humiston, association president.
Marleen Naanes and the Associated Press contributed to this story.