New tanning group targets UV 'myths'

January 9, 2013

New York - A newly formed group of indoor tanning retailers is working to correct what it calls “misinformation” about tanning beds and boost public awareness of the potential benefits of UV exposure.

New York - A newly formed group of indoor tanning retailers is working to correct what it calls “misinformation” about tanning beds and boost public awareness of the potential benefits of UV exposure.

The American Suntanning Association (ASA) formed Dec. 18 and is focused on creating a “consumer-first conversation differentiating proper sun care from blatant overstatements about the risks of UV exposure,” Bart Bonn, ASA board president, said in a news release.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified tanning beds as carcinogens, the ASA claims studies regarding the risks of using tanning beds are misleading. The ASA says these studies typically include tanning beds used in clinical practice but omit devices used in professional tanning salons.

“When home and medical sunbeds are removed from these studies, the risk connected to professional salons virtually disappears,” the ASA states. “Medical usage of sunbeds in doctor’s offices to treat cosmetic skin disease often involves intentional sunburn. … Organizations that have promoted these studies haven’t disclosed this critical distinction and have ignored many other confounding factors.”

Dermatologists are bristling at the ASA’s arguments, MedPage Today reports.

“The organization alleges in its materials that dermatologists are intentionally giving patients sunburns, and that is simply untrue,” Kevin Cooper, M.D., of Cleveland, is quoted as saying.

The American Academy of Dermatology opposes the use of indoor tanning equipment and supports the WHO’s recommendation that minors should be barred from using tanning beds.

“Unless and until the FDA bans the sale and use of indoor tanning equipment for nonmedical purposes, the AADA supports restrictions for indoor tanning facilities,” including prohibiting advertising the use of tanning beds as “safe,” the AAD states.

The ASA plans to work with healthcare officials and legislators at local, state and federal levels to “support constructive regulation that underscores operational protocol already embraced by professional sunbed centers.”