Thursday, July 30, 2009


The actual language by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC – a subset of the World Health Organization) was actually rather bland, but the impact of its report on the dangers posed by tanning beds was a shot heard ‘round the world. “Sunbeds pose such a risk of causing cancer they have now been moved to the highest level of danger classification, putting them on a par with asbestos, mustard gas and particles from atomic bombs,” was the lead on one report, and reflecting the majority of media coverage. The IARC ranks exposure to stuff based on its potential to cause cancer, and after reviewing the latest available research, the agency moved the ultraviolet radiation produced by tanning beds from “probably carcinogenic” to “carcinogenic to humans” – landing them in the same category as arsenic, plutonium and the aforementioned asbestos and mustard gas. It’s about as damning as it gets, and presented a huge issue management challenge for the electric beach industry. The Indoor Tanning Association gamely fired back with full-page newspaper ads in the U.S., noting that just as with the sun itself, it’s “overexposure” that is dangerous, and that tanning bed UV radiation is no different from red wine or salted fish in that regard. It will be a long and tough fight for them.

No comments: