Tanning beds, cancer risks and you — know your rights
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on July 30th, 2009
Well, it’s official — the use of UV tanning beds that are popular in tanning salons, health clubs and even in homes is now being labeled as cancer-causing to humans by a group of 20 researchers with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The group, which is part of the World Health Organization, met in June to “to reassess the carcinogenicity of the types of radiation previously classified as ‘carcinogenic to humans,'” including analyses of UV tanning beds.
Their key finding on the devices — that the use of UV-emitting tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma skin cancers in humans by 75% when the use of such machines starts before age 30, according to the report, which is being published in the August online issue of the medical journal, The Lancet. The report is based on the results of a wide ranging group of studies conducted over the last several years on tanning beds and incidents of cancer.
An Associated Press story on the report said that all types of ultraviolet radiation, including from UV tanning beds, were found by researchers to cause cancers in mice, which had not been proven previously. In the past, only one type of ultraviolet radiation was thought to be lethal, according to the AP story.
“People need to be reminded of the risks of sunbeds,” Vincent Cogliano, one of the cancer researchers who participated in the report, told the AP. “We hope the prevailing culture will change so teens don’t think they need to use sunbeds to get a tan.”
So what does this mean for you and your family?
Well, for one, the widespread use of UV tanning beds particularly affects young women, who are the most likely consumers of artificial tanning sessions. And that means that they would be disproportionally affected by any cancers that could develop.
What are the legal implications of the data? If someone was diagnosed with cancer after tanning on UV tanning beds, could they file a lawsuit and win damages?
That will all depend on the facts in each case. If you feel you are affected or that you might have a legal claim that you want to pursue, you should consider talking with a qualified personal injury attorney in a firm such as MyPhillyLawyer.
And in the meantime, you just might want to take the new report from the World Health Organization to heart and avoid UV tanning equipment. Your life could depend on it.
(Graphic logo courtesy the World Health Organization)