Too many solarium operators are flouting safe practices and putting their customers at risk of skin cancer, according to The Cancer Council Australia.
Commenting on research by CHOICE Magazine into compliance by solarium operators with the Australian/New Zealand standard, The Chair of The Cancer Council’s National Skin Cancer Committee, Craig Sinclair, said the findings supported calls for tighter regulation of the industry, which had proven itself again as “not being able to self-regulate”. “We are not surprised by these findings,” Mr Sinclair said. “Our own research has come up with almost identical results. Some solarium owners are allowing the underage and those susceptible to UV radiation to access solariums, are providing inaccurate information and positioning their businesses as offering a health benefit.” “They are being caught out time and time again. While some are complying, others can’t be bothered.” Mr Sinclair said The Cancer Council’s research showed that more 290,000 Australians visited solariums last year. Of particular concern was the easy access to solariums by those who shouldn’t be allowed to visit. Research by the Cancer Council Victoria found 90 per cent of the high-risk, fair-skinned customers were allowed access to tanning units and of most concern, 52% of 16 year-olds were welcomed by solariums without providing the required parental consent. “We know that exposing young skin to UV rays increases the risk of skin cancer. That’s why we have an Australian Standard that requires parental consent for 15â17 year-olds. Allowing such young vulnerable skin into solariums without any consideration for their safety is simply not acceptable.” Mr Sinclair said a solarium could emit UV radiation that is five times as strong as the midday summer sun. “Subjecting skin to the excessive amounts of UV radiation that solariums emit can be dangerous. It is important that the public understand that using solariums will increase exposure to UV radiation and risk of skin cancer.”(Source: Cancer Council of Australia: November 2005.)