MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: are there standards in sunlamps use for tan ?

Date: Tue Dec 2 20:25:55 2003
Posted By: John Moulder, Faculty, Radiation Biology, Medical College of Wisconsin
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1069594530.Me

sunlamp safety

You ask: Are there safety standards for the sunlamps used for tanning?

Short answer: There are some standards in some countries; but the standards do not mean that the use of sunlamps for tanning is safe.

It has been known for years that the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun that causes tanning (and sun burn) can be harmful. This UV radiation can cause skin cancer, premature skin aging, and eye damage. There is no reason to think that the UV radiation from sunlamps is any safer.

The incidence of skin cancer has been rising over the years, and this increase is believed to be due to increasing unprotected exposure to UV radiation from the sun, from tanning beds, and from sun lamps.

Therefore, any unnecessary exposure to UV radiation should be seen as potentially hazardous.

The general advice from health authorities all over the world is:

Despite the known hazards of deliberate exposure to UV radiation, I know of no jurisdictions that prohibit the use of sunlamps or tanning beds. But some jurisdictions regulate use of sunlamps or tanning beds. For an example of a national regulatory scheme, see the regulations of the Swedish Radiation Protection Institute:

Where there are regulations on sun lamp use, they usually contain some of the following:

For further information see:

John Moulder
Radiation Biologist

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