(NEW YORK) — Doctors have long warned us how tanning beds raise the risk of skin cancer. Now, a new study suggests tanning parlors are fighting back, with dangerous misinformation. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found out how you can get burned by some shady claims.
For the study, researchers at Washington University surveyed 243 tanning salons in the state of Missouri.
They found that 43 percent claimed there are no risks to indoor tanning. A whopping 65 percent said they would allow children as young as 10 or 12 to tan, in direct defiance of established medical advice.
And only 19 percent of the salons surveyed advocated the use of sunscreen.
Not one facility asked if potential customers had skin cancer or took light-sensitive medications.
And just 22 percent followed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guideline that clients should have a skin exam before tanning.
On the plus side, 85 percent did say customers had to wear eye protection, but when customers expressed concerns about getting “raccoon eyes,” over half allowed them to tan with no eye protection at all.
While none of the misinformation and bad advice given by the tanning salons is illegal, Missouri is one of 17 states without statewide tanning regulations. Due to the known risks of UV rays and tanning — increased skin cancer, eye damage, premature skin aging — the authors are calling for state legislation of tanning beds as “medical devices,” and enforcement of current FDA regulations.
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