French health watch­dog calls for ban on sunbeds

Muscat Daily - - OPINION -

Paris, France - The French health watch­dog urged the govern­ment to outlaw sun­lamps and sunbeds be­cause of the ‘proven’ risk of skin can­cer, in line with sim­i­lar bans al­ready in place in Aus­tralia and Brazil.

“We rec­om­mend ban­ning all ac­tiv­i­ties linked to ar­ti­fi­cial tan­ning, along with ul­tra­vi­o­let sun­lamps sold for es­thetic pur­poses, es­pe­cially those sold on the pri­vate mar­ket,” Olivier Mer­ckel, an ex­pert at the Agency for Food, En­vi­ron­men­tal and Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety (ANSES), said.

Of 10,722 cases of ma­lig­nant melanoma - the dead­li­est form of skin can­cer - re­ported in French adults over age 30 in 2015, 382 could be di­rectly linked to the use of sunbeds and sun­lamps, ANSES es­ti­mated re­cently.

Skin spe­cial­ists, the French academy of medicine, and some politi­cians have al­ready spo­ken out in favour of a ban, but the French govern­ment has so far opted to merely tighten reg­u­la­tions.

In 2013, it banned peo­ple un­der age 18 from us­ing com­mer­cial tan­ning par­lours, and out­lawed ad­ver­tis­ing for them. A to­tal ban is now needed, ac­cord­ing to Olivier Mer­ckel.

“Sci­en­tific data is grow­ing, there isn’t any doubt any more, we have solid proof, the risk of can­cer is proven, we have fig­ures on the risk to young peo­ple, to every­one, so now we’re call­ing for ac­tion from the au­thor­i­ties,” the ex­pert from the ANSES said.

There is a ‘proven’ link be­tween ar­ti­fi­cial sun­light and hu­man can­cer, the In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Can­cer, a body of the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, warned as early as 2009.

Peo­ple un­der 35 who re­sort at least once to ar­ti­fi­cial tan­ning in­crease the like­li­hood of de­vel­op­ing skin melanoma by 59 per cent, ac­cord­ing to the ANSES.

Brazil banned sunbeds in 2009 and Aus­tralia out­lawed them in 2015.

Com­mer­cial tan­ning ac­tiv­ity in France has al­ready been halved since 2009, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional union of tan­ning pro­fes­sion­als which rep­re­sents some 4,500 tan­ning par­lours in the coun­try.

(AFP)

This file photo shows a sunbed or tan­ning bed in Paris on Au­gust 22

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