We Are Sunshine

Missouri TV Station Spreads Misinformation About Tanning

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

A Missouri television station Tuesday aired a potentially libelous report featuring a doctor alleging, without evidence, that a patient’s 300 warts were caused by tanning in a tanning facility.

2008-03-19-dirty-news-copy.jpg“If you think about what a tanning bed is, essentially you’re lying naked on a hot skillet after somebody else just lay naked on that hot skillet,” Dr. Dawn Davis told Springfield, Mo., station KSPR.

According to the KSPR report, “Dr. Dawn Davis has seen plenty of infections from tanning beds. This patient contracted warts from a tanning bed that was not properly cleaned. She’s having laser treatment to remove them.” The story alleged that warts, caused by the human papilloma virus or HPV are just one of the many health risks associated with tanning bed use.

But facts don’t support the story.

“It is impossible for a doctor to say definitively that a patient’s warts came from one exact circumstance. Usage of unclean toilets, sexual partners and many other exposure variables cannot be ruled out,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said in a response sent to the station Tuesday.” Professional tanning facilities follow sanitary procedures that surpass those of most doctors offices today. Your report passed along inaccurate information from an ignorant source who showed complete disregard for the facts.”

Dr. Davis also repeated the disproved, inaccurate statement that “The other thing I like to warn against tanning beds is that you increase your risk for melanoma approximately eight times over your lifetime.” That statistic is an outlier from a small sub-group in one Swedish study whose overall assessment showed no statistically significant association between tanning and melanoma.

“The fact that Davis repeated such an obviously inaccurate statistic is another sign of how outlandish and without base she is willing to be on this topic,” Levy continued.