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EU warns "barbecue" sunbeds may cause cancer

Written by: Staff

BRUSSELS, July 7 (Reuters) The young and fair skinned tan lovers should give sunbeds a wide berth because they can cause skin cancer, the European Commission said.

The European Union's executive arm said its scientific committee on consumer products concluded that using sunbeds, tanning lamps and other ultraviolet radiation devices is likely to increase the risk of malignant melanoma, a skin cancer.

''Currently, apparently, there is no limit for manufacturers producing sunbeds when it comes to the maximum level of ultraviolet radiation,'' European Commission spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber told a news briefing yesterday.

''So basically what could happen is that you could have a product that is basically barbecuing you because there is no upper limit which controls that,'' Kreuzhuber said.

EU rules say low voltage devices must be safe and the Commission will ask member states and the tanning industry to make sure there are warnings to avoid misuse.

The executive will also ask agencies that certify products to introduce ultraviolet radiation limits.

The committee found that in Britain, an estimated 100 people a year may die because of sunbed use, and most at risk are people with freckles, moles, a family history of melanoma and the young.

''Thus UVR tanning devices should not be used by individuals under the age of 18 years,'' the Commission said.

The main source of UVR exposure is the sun, but some for some people there is substantial exposure from sunbeds.

UVR tanning devices were not in widespread use before the 1990s, and it will take years before the role of the UVR tanning devices in inducing skin cancer becomes fully apparent, the Commission said.


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