We Are Sunshine

JCTA: CCS Won’t Correct Errors

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Canada’s indoor tanning association Tuesday released a press statement saying that the Canadian Cancer Society has refused to answer questions about public misstatements its officials have made about UV exposure and has refused to sit down with representatives of the Canadian sunbed industry to even discuss the matter, despite requests from government officials that such a meeting should take place.

According to JCTA’s statement, the Joint Canadian Tanning Association on Feb. 21 formally requested a meeting with CCS officials to discuss CCS misstatements in its lobbying efforts and ways the groups could come together to support a common sun safety education message. JCTA’s written request went unanswered until it was sent again on March 21, when CCS declined both a proposed meeting and to answer questions from JCTA.

Click here to read JCTA’s letters and the CCS response.

“Canadians should be very concerned that CCS — a non-profit charity — is not behaving in an academic fashion,” Joint Canadian Tanning Association President Doug McNabb said in JCTA’s statement. “Presented with the fact that they are misleading the public with certain statements, they have declined to even discuss their errors. Our letter and the unanswered questions speak for themselves.”

According to JCTA, CCS said the answers to JCTA’s questions are on CCS’s website. None of them are. Among the misstatements:

• A senior CCS official stated publicly that people who use sunbeds “might as well go back to Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped.”

• CCS has alleged that tanning is as dangerous as smoking — a ludicrous comparison both by numbers and biology. Humans need UV exposure to live, whereas tobacco usage introduces the body to dozens of unnatural carcinogens. Smoking related deaths are 50 times those related to melanoma. A direct causal connection with UV and melanoma has yet to be established. Melanoma cancer is still more common in indoor workers than it is in outdoor workers who get 4-10 times more UV exposure.

• CCS is lobbying against sunbed usage, but has refused to call for dermatology to suspend its usage of sunbeds to treat purely cosmetic skin conditions — a usage that often involves intentional sunburn and which World Health Organization data shows is 16 times riskier than commercial sunbed usage. In fact, CCS, in lobbying against sunbed usage, has lobbied to preserve the usage of sunbeds by dermatologists.

“On a number of occasions we have been asked by government officials why we haven’t met with the CCS,” McNabb said. “For the betterment of public health in Canada we reached out to gain a better understanding of the CCS’s lobbying and communications efforts. We are disappointed that the CCS has taken such a one-sided approach to these issues.”