A survey of tanning salon operators within the state of Missouri revealed 65 percent still allow children as young as 10 to use their facilities.
The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, indicate Missouri is one of 17 states openly permitting youngsters to use tanning beds without a minimum age restriction. Dermatologists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis participated in the research.
US authorities have attempted to introduce regulations inhibiting the use of indoor tanning units by age. In the state of New York, 17-year-olds can only use the beds with written parental consent. In California, minors are prohibited from using indoor tanning beds.
The American Academy of Dermatology statistics show 28 million people annually use indoor tanning in the US, 70 percent of which are Caucasian females. Nearly 2.3 million of those overall users are teenagers. Indoor tanning, as of 2010, was a $2.6 billion industry.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency of Research on Cancer panel has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Indoor tanning lamps emit both UVA and UVB radiation. UVB are the rays that burn. UVA rays, which account for 95 percent of the radiation, prematurely age.
A July 2012 report demonstrated an irrefutable link of indoor tanning to 5.4 percent of new melanoma (skin cancer) diagnoses. A British Medical Journal report also supports the dangers of using indoor tanning, saying it significantly increases the risk of developing melanoma. Those under the age of 25 are especially vulnerable to both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma makes up 90 percent of skin cancers in the US and UK.
For those who began using artificial tanning beds before the age of 35, the risk of melanoma is 75 percent higher.
Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer which manifests within the pigment cells of the skin (melanin/melanocytes). It is the rarest but most aggressively pernicious type. Fair skinned, fair haired individuals are especially predisposed to burn and develop skin cancer due to the inconsistent presence of melanin in their skin.
Tanning addiction (tanorexia) is a rare condition defined as someone who engages is an overabundance of tanning to the point of obsession. When sunbathing, opioids are released in the brain. Over time, an overexposure to tanning excessively stimulates this response. Abstaining can trigger severe withdrawal symptoms such as depression in chronic tanners.
Patricia Krentcil, popularly dubbed “Tanning Mom” by the media, displayed an extreme affliction of tanorexia. The New Jersey woman was accused of endangering her 6-year-old daughter, allegedly putting the girl into a stand-up tanning booth earlier this last year.
Responding to the report Tracie Cunningham, Executive Director of the American Suntanning Association tells The Inquisitr:
“This six-year old telephone survey is irrelevant when evaluating consumer safety procedures practiced in professional salons. This was data collected by phone interview six years ago — no one in this phone survey ever stepped foot in a suntanning salon, where parental consent standards and explicit consumer warning statements are already in place. Most of the non-salon businesses included in this survey are not even in business today.
The American Suntanning Association and professional tanning salons promote responsible new measures like strong parental consent laws and include warning signs in our businesses. While the study authors are using questionable survey methods to lobby for their preferred legislation, they have yet to engage our industry around efforts to promote parental consent and develop responsible legislative alternatives.”
How young is too young to tan?
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