May 12, 2013 at 7:37 AM
Cancer warnings may be required on tanning beds
Outlaw tanning beds
Melanoma is now the most common form of cancer for young adults ages 25 to 29 and the second-most-common cancer for people ages 15 to 29 [“FDA wants cancer warnings on tanning beds,” seattletimes.com, May 6].
Exposure to UV radiation from sunlight or tanning beds is the primary risk factor for skin cancer. Teens are particularly susceptible to damage from this exposure because their skin is not fully developed.
Indoor tanning use before age 35 increases melanoma risk by 75 percent. Use of tanning beds is not a safe way to increase vitamin D levels or prevent sunburns. Tanning beds are actually more dangerous than sunlight because they deliver a much higher level of radiation.
The use of tanning beds among teens has increased from 1 percent to 27 percent in the last 20 years. This is a recipe for a disastrous increase in melanoma skin cancer.
This cancer is largely preventable by protecting skin from UV radiation. We can make sure our children use sunscreen and avoid the use of tanning beds. We need to urge our elected representatives to pass legislation prohibiting the use of tanning beds by teens; it’s the responsible choice.
Ellen Phillips-Angeles, ambassador, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Seattle
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