FDA warns vacationers of tanning health risks as Memorial Day weekend approaches

May 26th, 2010 - 12:35 am ICT by BNO News  

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND (BNO NEWS) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned vacationers on Tuesday that any tan is a sign of skin damage, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning devices poses serious health risks.

As Memorial Day approaches, vacationers begin preparing their trips and some may be heading toward tanning salons this week, hoping to get a “base” tan. But Sharon Miller, M.S.E.E., an FDA scientist and international expert on UV radiation, explains why it’s important to avoid exposure to UV radiation from devices such as tanning beds, tanning booths, and portable home tanning units.

“A tan is a skin reaction to harmful ultraviolet – or “UV” – radiation exposure. The skin acts in self-defense by producing more melanin, a pigment that darkens the skin. This damage leads to prematurely aged skin and, in some cases, skin cancer,” Miller said.

“UV radiation from the sun causes skin cancer, and since lamps used in tanning beds emit the same type of UV radiation, the use of indoor tanning devices also increases (the) risk of skin cancer,” she added.

The FDA has expressed concern regarding tanning practices in the U.S., especially in teens and young adults. Because sunburn takes 6 to 48 hours to develop, people may not realize their skin is burned until it is too late.

The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2009, 68,000 new cases of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, occurred in the U.S., and one out eight of these cases will be fatal.

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