Sunbeds, poor sun­screens con­tribut­ing to can­cer rate

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

A new study which shows New Zealand has the high­est in­ci­dence of skin can­cer in the world con­firmed the need to ban sunbeds and make sun­screen stan­dards manda­tory, Con­sumer NZ says.

Skin can­cer is one of the most com­mon can­cers af­fect­ing Ki­wis.

The 2018 Skin Can­cer In­dex says New Zealand has nearly 2500 new cases of melanoma ev­ery year.

Slop­ping on the sun­screen is one way to pro­tect our­selves from sun­burn.

De­spite this, New Zealand clas­si­fies sun­screens as cosmetics and this is not pro­tect­ing con­sumers against the sun’s harm­ful rays, Con­sumer says.

Con­sumer NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Sue Chetwin said last year it tested 20 sun­screens against the Aus­tralia/New Zealand stan­dard and only nine met their SPF la­bel claim and the re­quire­ments for broad-spectrum pro­tec­tion.

“Our test found some nat­u­ral sun­screens only pro­vided low pro­tec­tion.

“One didn’t meet high pro­tec­tion or broad spectrum claims and two com­pa­nies — in­clud­ing one big brand — pro­vided test cer­tifi­cates for sim­i­lar, but not iden­ti­cal sun­screens.”

Sun­screens can be sold in New Zealand with­out be­ing tested be­cause the sun­screen stan­dard is vol­un­tary here.

Us­ing a sunbed also in­creases your risk of get­ting skin can­cer, she said.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Can­cer, us­ing one be­fore age 30 in­creases the risk of melanoma by 75 per­cent.

Like sun­screens, com­pli­ance with the sunbed stan­dard is vol­un­tary.

Con­sumer NZ has been mys­teryshop­ping sunbed op­er­a­tors for more than a decade.

In Fe­bru­ary this year our sur­vey con­firmed the poor prac­tices in this in­dus­try.

“Young peo­ple and those with fair skin are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble, but two op­er­a­tors al­lowed a per­son un­der 18 to have a sunbed and six op­er­a­tors al­lowed a per­son with fair skin to have a sunbed.

“Shop­pers did not have the sunbed but car­ried out the sur­vey in the cu­bi­cle.

“Ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tion isn’t pro­vid­ing suf­fi­cient con­sumer pro­tec­tion and it’s time the govern­ment made the sun­screen stan­dard manda­tory and banned sunbeds.

“Th­ese mea­sures are al­ready in place in Aus­tralia and with our higher skin can­cer rates it’s not good enough our reg­u­la­tions are lag­ging be­hind.”

■ For Con­sumer NZ’s sun­screen and sunbed reports visit con­sumer.org.nz

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