Stricter regulations set for indoor tanning

World Health Organization regards tanning salons as dangerous as asbestos factories; minimum age for indoor tanning now 18.

Sunbed, tanning (photo credit: Alex Grimm / Reuters)
Sunbed, tanning
(photo credit: Alex Grimm / Reuters)
Tanning salons will be required to post prominent signs warning customers about the dangers of contracting melanoma -- the most severe type of skin cancer -- from undergoing “treatment”. In addition, youngsters under the age of 18 will be forbidden from undergoing such artificial tanning, which involves high doses of ultraviolet light.
This was unanimously approved by the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee on Monday. The regulations will go into effect in 90 days after their publication in Reshumot.
In addition to signs, the tanning salons will have to hand out fliers with explanations of the dangers and how to at least protect eyes from UV radiation.
Last week’s State Comptroller report’s chapter on the Health Ministry included criticism for its “lack of supervision” of tanning parlors. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against tanning salons because of the danger of skin cancer that they pose.
It is also recommended that pregnant women, people with moles on their skin and those with a family history of skin cancer not go to tanning salons, or at least that they consult a doctor first.
The UV radiation produced in tanning machines are identical to the harmful rays of the sun, said Dr. Dikla Dahan, assistant to the head of public health services in the ministry. Even a one-time exposure raises the risk of contracting melanoma by 15 percent to 75%, she said, and more than doubles the risk of squamous cell carcinoma.
Edna Peleg, spokeswoman of the Israel Cancer Association, added that the WHO recommends putting tanning salons in the same carcinogenic category as facilities that deal with asbestos (proven to cause lung cancer).
Dr. Nir Natanson, a dermatology specialist, said that customers in tanning salons don’t stop with undergoing artificial tanning but also go to the beach with their children to get even browner. “US researchers have found in recent years that the melanoma rate among children is climbing by an average of two percent a year.”