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Solariums are twice as dangerous as midday sun

Everyone knows (well, at least we hope) that using solariums or ‘tanning beds’ is very, very dangerous. But new research has revealed just how bad for us they really are.

10:42AM, Jan 18

Researchers at the University of Dundee in the UK tested more than 400 sun beds in England, and found that the likelihood of developing cancer was doubled after using a solarium when compared to spending the same amount of time lying in the Mediterranean midday sun.

Nine out of 10 machines tested emitted UV levels above the UK and EU standards, with many of them approaching twice the recommended limit.

One of the study’s authors Professor Harry Moseley said a failure of the sunbed industry to properly regulate itself is putting lives at risk.

"The development of high-power sunlamps, along with clear failures of the sunbed industry to regulate themselves effectively, is putting young people at an even greater risk of skin cancer than we previously thought," he said.

"We hope that these findings will make people think twice before using sunbeds as you can’t be sure how much radiation you’re exposing yourself to when you try to top-up a tan."

In Australia, the New South Wales government became the first in the country to announce solariums and sun beds will be banned in the state from 2014.

Victoria and South Australia followed suit, and Queensland introduced softer laws – only preventing new solariums from being opened and still allowing them to be purchased for private use.

NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker said the UV rays emitted from solariums "is a number one carcinogen. It's equivalent to asbestos".

A push for the banning of tanning beds increased after the death of 27-year-old Melbourne woman Claire Oliver in 2007.

Oliver died of melanoma she believed to be caused by her use of solariums.

Before her death, Oliver wrote: "If I could go back and talk to myself when I was 19 I would tell that girl not to use a solarium - that melanoma is not a small cancer that you just have cut out and you will be fine".

Do you or anyone you know still use soalriums? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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