We Are Sunshine

Poll shows two-thirds of tanning businesses say IARC’s bogus report harmed their tanning businesses

Monday, August 17th, 2009

AUGUST 14, 2009 — The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s late July report recklessly mis-portraying indoor tanning as a risk on par with cigarette smoking has harmed two-thirds of tanning businesses, according to the results of a poll conducted in the last week.

2009-08-14-wronged-tanningnews-copy.jpgAccording to the poll, 66 percent say their business was hurt by the report, while 4 percent say the report actually helped their business. Another 30 percent said that the report had no impact either way.

The IARC report and many dermatology industry leaders worldwide promoting it suggested tanning is now as dangerous as cigarette smoking simply because UV light was added to the group’s list of carcinogens. Those promoting the study to the press did not give proper weight to the fact that the “list” also contains red wine, birth control pills, salted fish and other highly used substances that, when experienced in their intended dosages, do not elevate cancer risk.

“No report that we saw pointed out the most important part of the story: that the ‘list’ doesn’t mean a substance is dangerous in every-day dosages, but only potentially in ‘overexposure’ situations,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “But ‘sun tanning is as dangerous as tobacco’ is what many news stories mis-reported, thanks to prompting from dermatology leaders, also ignoring the fact that UV has been on North American carcinogen lists for nearly a decade.”

Smart Tan believes those who supplied the material to the media are to blame. “They certainly didn’t stand in the way of any overstatement nor have they since tried to correct the record. They have been completely complicit with the mischaracterizations that they spawned.”

IARC cited its own report alleging “risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75 per cent when people started using tanning beds before age 30.” Ignored in this statement is confounding information pointing out that the 2006 report producing this statistic has been substantially challenged. When Skin Type I data were removed from the data set indoor tanning and melanoma the palest individuals who cannot tan (called Skin Type I – people who are not allowed to tan in North American tanning facilities) were removed from the IARC data set, there was no increase in risk for the group being studied.

“There still is not one single study that has ever linked tanning in a non-burning fashion with a significant increase in risk of permanent skin damage,” Levy said. “Indeed, no study has ever been designed to substantially evaluate that specific circumstance.It is conspicuous that Big Dermatology has perpetuated this mischaracterization.”