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Tanning Bed's Ugly Side Revealed in UK Study

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

While they often used by people who want to look and feel better, sunbed use has an ugly side.

Helen Burt started using sunbeds aged 21. By the time she was 22 she had developed skin cancer.

"I was so lucky that I got away with what I did really. I can't believe it is not more regulated on how much exposure they can allow you to have."

A new study by Cancer Research UK looked at sunbeds in England and found 90 percent failed existing safety rules for levels of UV (ultraviolet) rays.

The study says the average sunbed was found to carry a cancer risk 2.5 times that of the midday Mediterranean sun. While ten percent were found to carry a risk six times as big.

Researchers blame developments in suntan technology, which has produced new high powered fast tan facilities.

Sunbed Association spokesman Gary Lipman says they are doing what they can to keep sunbed users safe.

"We have ben working with local authorities over the last couple of years and we are ensuring that our members update their equipment to comply and the rest of the industry is following suit."

The British Association of Dermatologists calls the report findings a "sunbed scandal".

Current sunbed users were divided about their future sunbed use.

"I might do a little bit more research before using a sunbed again but I am not a chronic user, as you can tell by my pasty skin."

"I am going to a wedding out in New Zealand so I would rather have sunbeds here than go and get burnt."

Skin cancer is the UK's most common cancer with more than 100-thousand new cases every year.

The scientists behind the study say they want tighter tanning regulations in England - at least on par with the rest of the UK where health warnings have to be on show and all tanning facilities have staff supervision.


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