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Interesting Tan?

Friday, February 29th, 2008

British Health officials construct a new sun scare argument

Some British health officials – intent on imposing teenage tanning restrictions in their country – are alleging that British teens who don’t have suntans are subject to “bullying” from their tanned-skin peers.

“Within the schools there appeared to be a culture of peer pressure for children to be tanned, extending to bullying in some cases for those children with very pale skin,” Paul Mackenzie, of the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network, said in a story syndicated in the British press.

Liverpool Director of Public Health Dr. Paula Gray added that “it is far healthier to be pale and interesting.” The term “interesting” was not explained.

2008-02-28-interesting-faces-tanningnews-copy.jpg“Gray, in using the phrase ‘pale and interesting’ is actually bullying herself, isn’t she?” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy asked. “The implication is that people with tan skin are somehow uninteresting. Is she using stereotypes and at the same time decrying them?”

British health officials, in seeking tougher teenage tanning restrictions, are frequently distorting the fact that data show no connection between tanning in a non-burning fashion and permanent skin damage – whereas the data suggest that repeated sunburn may be a risk factor.

To read the story click here.