French watchdog calls for national ban on sunbeds
Anses, France’s health watchdog, has recommended that public authorities take all measures to stop the exposure of citizens to artificial UV emitted by tanning booths.
Measures have previously been taken to regulate the use of tanning equipment in France. To review these regulations, the French Ministry of Health asked ANSES to update scientific knowledge on the health consequences of exposure to artificial ultraviolet radiation emitted by sunbeds.
Research quoted by Anses states that two recent epidemiological studies, conducted in the United States and Norway, have confirmed the level of evidence of carcinogenic risk associated with the use of tanning equipment and that artificial UV radiation has been classified as carcinogenic for humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (CIR) since 2009.
The push to have tanning devices banned in the country is backed by Anses's estimation that in France 43% of cases of melanoma in young people can be attributed to use of tanning booths before the age of 30 years.
Sunbeds are currently banned for commercial use in Brazil and Australia but the law in France (like in the UK) only bans use by under-18s however. Anses has now argued that this should become a total ban.
However, Gary Lipman, chairman of UK body The Sunbed Association, has spoken out against the new recommendations. He said, “The lobby in France calling for sunbeds to be banned in an effort to reduce melanoma rates is based on ideology not scientific fact. The cause of melanoma is a mixed and complex subject and there is absolutely no clinical data demonstrating a causal relationship between sunbed use and melanoma, only interview-based recollections."
He added, “Research used by the World Heath Organisation is of poor quality, in that it has not been adjusted for confounders such as outdoor sun exposure, sun burning, skin type 1s (always burns, never tans), and that the data included non-commercial, more-intense sunbeds used by doctors in medical practices to treat skin disease – which skewed the data now being used by many agencies and authorities against our industry.”
The French Ministry of Health is yet to respond to Anses's recommendations.