Doctors Urge Ban of Tanning Beds for Minors
Thu, 3/03/2011 9:48 AM
According to a group of 60,000 pediatricians, U.S. tanning salons should close their doors to minors to protect them from skin cancer. The recommendation was released in a new policy statement February 28, 2011.
"There are more tanning facilities in the U.S. than there are Starbucks or McDonald's," said Dr. Sophie J. Balk, who helped write the new statement for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "More than a million visits are made every day."
The actual numbers remain small, however. In one large Scandinavian study, 24 out of every 10,000 young women who tanned regularly developed melanoma compared to 17 out of every 10,000 who had never or only rarely used a tanning bed.
About one in 50 white people get melanoma at some point in their life, and the number has been climbing for the past three decades. Each year, about 8,700 Americans die from the disease. "I see it as a very important public health issue," said Balk, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, New York. "We're coming out very strongly for legislation that supports banning minors' access to tanning salons."
Surveys have found that nearly a quarter of white teenagers in the U.S. have tried indoor tanning at least once. And many do it regularly.
Eleven states already have tanning restrictions for kids, but none goes as high as 18 years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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