Investigation uncovers indoor tanning's efforts to mislead public, report shows

June 1, 2012

Although the risk of melanoma is especially high for youth and young adults who engage in indoor tanning, tanning salon workers across the nation have told congressional undercover investigators that indoor tanning is safe and the idea that indoor tanning can cause skin cancer is false.

Key Points

Those statements were revealed in a report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Minority Staff following an investigative report published in February.

During the investigation, committee investigators posing as fair-skinned teenage girls contacted 300 tanning salons nationwide, including at least three in each state and the District of Columbia, and asked a series of questions about their policies and the risks and benefits of tanning.

According to the report, one tanning salon contacted by investigators equated the skin cancer risk associated with indoor tanning as similar to that posed by the sunlight absorbed while walking to your car. Another compared the risk of cancer to that presented by standing in front of the microwave oven.