Scientists call for more tests to prove safety of tanning chemical DHA
Comments from US scientists have prompted fears regarding the safety of spray tan chemical DHA when inhaled regularly and on a long-term basis.
While there is no concrete evidence to link DHA to cancer or other problems, scientists have suggested more tests are needed to prove its safety when inhaled. There are, however, no fears over its use in self tan creams.
Dr Lynn Goldman, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University in Washington DC, said that additional research was required to determine the effects of DHA when inhaled.
She told US channel ABC News: “The substance seems to have a potential for what they call creating mutations or changing DNA in living cells, which is a serious problem and needs to be further investigated, yet hasn’t been.
Dr Rey Panettieri, a lung specialist from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, also expressed concern that DHA can enter the lungs and get absorbed into the bloodstream. “The consequences of that has not been shown to be safe,” he added.
However, he was clear that for most clients, who have a spray tan once a month, “frankly there’s probably no problem at all.”
He suggested problems may arise among more regular clients or for beauty therapists who carry out a lot of spray tanning treatments. “It could potentially lead to cancer or the worsening of asthma or COPD,” he said.
The clear message was that no dangers had yet been proved but more tests would be advisable.
In the US, the story prompted response from Government safety body the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which said: "The use of DHA in 'tanning' booths as an all-over spray has not been approved by the FDA, since safety data to support this use has not been submitted to the agency for review and evaluation." And added: "Consumers should request measures to protect their eyes and mucous membranes and prevent inhalation."