Tanning Parlors May Spread Disinformation

June 1, 1995

NEW YORK--In its aggressive attacks on the American Medical Association and American Academy of Dermatology, the tanning industry uses disinformation to obscure the fact that artificial sources of ultraviolet (UV) light are no safer than the sun, said Rex Amonette, MD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology and clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Memphis.

NEW YORK--In its aggressive attacks on the American Medical Associationand American Academy of Dermatology, the tanning industry usesdisinformation to obscure the fact that artificial sources ofultraviolet (UV) light are no safer than the sun, said Rex Amonette,MD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology and clinicalprofessor of dermatology at the University of Memphis.

The assertions that indoor tanners emit UVA only and that UVAis not associated with the development of skin cancers are bothfalse, he said at a Skin Cancer Foundation media briefing.

Devices Emit UVB Radiation

"Up to 23% of the light from these devices is in the UVBrange, but even with pure UVA, we are seeing DNA damage, cancer,vascular damage, and melanocyte stimulation," Dr. Amonettesaid.

Furthermore, the opportunity for abuse with home units is enormous,and with falling prices, sales of home units have increased dramatically."In fact," he said, "many physicians own home tanningbeds and they are among the worst offenders. We simply must bebetter role models for our patients."

Dr. Amonette cited a case history of a patient who, after morethan 5 years of daily 20-minute exposure in a tanning parlor,had developed 15 basal cell carcinomas on her back, trunk, andface. The lesions were unusually deep, large, and rapid in theirgrowth.

He noted that in his observation, skin cancers related to tanningparlor use seem to be deeper and faster growing than those inducedby sun exposure.

For More Information

The Skin Cancer Foundation maintains a large catalogue of patientand public information materials, including posters, slides, books,brochures, and newsletters on sun protection and the early detectionof skin cancer. For information and to order materials, writeto the Foundation at P.O. Box 561, New York, NY 10156, or telephone212-725-5176.