We Are Sunshine

IARC Report Damaged Most in Tanning

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010


Nearly three out of four tanning businesses say media coverage of last July’s International Agency on Research on Cancer report – coverage which erroneously compared UV exposure to cigarette smoking and arsenic – has hurt their business operations. That’s the result of a poll conducted in May.

According to the poll, 73 percent say coverage of the IARC report has hurt their business nine months later, while 27 percent say the report has had no long-term impact. No respondents said the report helped their businesses.

Journalists have since figured out that coverage of the report went beyond science, as both tanners and non-tanners have less than a 0.3 percent risk of contracting melanoma according to the largest and strongest study in the report, while approximately half of life-long smokers develop diseases linked to smoking.

“While the IARC report has been quantitatively refuted in the months that have followed, the question is whether the World Health Organization or IARC are liable for misleading so many people for so long, or whether not correcting the record is negligent on their part,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Those who have used the IARC report to attack indoor tanning did so with intent to harm tanning businesses, and it worked, and yet they did so with knowledge that they were going beyond the data. That will have to be addressed.”