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New Solarium Restrictions Highlight Dangers

Wednesday 19 June

New Solarium Restrictions Highlight Dangers, But Legal Force Needed

The Cancer Society has welcomed moves to introduce tougher operating guidelines for solariums, but says without legislation to enforce the Standard, some operators would ignore the new rules.

Standards New Zealand has released an updated Standard for solariums, restricting operators from advertising their product as safe or healthy and banning use by children under the age of 15. The Standard also states that people with fair skin which always burns and never tans should not use solaria.

Cancer Society Health Promotion Programme Manager Liz Price welcomed the updated Standard. However, she warned that the Standard is voluntary and that some solarium operators may choose not to implement it.

The Cancer Society is calling on Government to introduce legislation to ensure all solariums comply with operational guidelines contained in the Standard.

¡§As a result of some solariums using misleading marketing tactics many customers believe solarium tanning is safe, especially if only used in moderation,¡¨ Liz Price says.

¡§Without proper regulation, the industry has put many unsuspecting New Zealanders at greater risk of skin injury.¡¨

Dermatologist Marius Rademaker says that all tanning, however it is supposedly controlled, poses a health risk.

¡§Solariums use ultraviolet light, and all forms of UV light contribute to skin cancer. Sunbeds can emit ultraviolet radiation up to five times as strong as the midday sun.¡¨

Dr Rademaker said that the new Standard means customers using solariums can now at least obtain information to help them decide whether it¡¦s worth the risk.

¡§Ask the solarium operator for a consent form clearly stating the risk of skin damage for you to read and sign. You should also check that the tanning beds are regularly cleaned, display a health warning on the bed itself or in the cubicle and make sure you wear eye protection, which is essential.

¡§If you suspect the solarium operator is not providing correct information, seek a second opinion, or check with your doctor or skin specialist.¡¨

A recent informal Cancer Society survey found that eight of 16 solarium operators said that sunbeds were ¡¥a safe way to tan¡¦. Safety information wasn¡¦t available in most salons, only two salons alluded to the aging effects of sunbed use and only one operator indicated that a client¡¦s family history of skin cancer was important.

Points to note about solariums:

„h A solarium tan is induced by ultraviolet radiation
„h Ultraviolet radiation contributes to skin cancer
„h Ultraviolet radiation causes premature ageing of the skin. This may be evident as wrinkling, loss of elasticity, sagging, yellowish discolouration and brown patches.
„h No solarium can give a safe tan.

Summary of updated standard

A solaria standard was developed in 1983 because there was no standardisation or formal regulation of equipment performance and day-to-day procedures in a large number of commercial solarium operating within Australia and New Zealand. The standard has now been updated.

The standard establishes requirements for installing, maintaining and operating one or more sun-tanning units for the purpose of administering cosmetic tanning.

Section one

The objective of the standard is to provide operators and users of artificial tanning equipment with procedures for minimising the risk associated with indoor tanning.

Section two

Installation and maintenance including:

„h Ultraviolet irradiance
„h Control and termination of session
„h Protective screening
„h Occupancy
„h Age limit ¡V note, this states that no individual under the age of 18 without parental or guardian consent shall use a solaria. No individual under 15 shall be permitted to use a solaria under any circumstances.
„h Circuit breakers
„h Handgrip
„h Lamp replacement
„h General requirements
„h Measurements
„h Solarium operator training
„h Promotion - note: claims of non-cosmetic health benefits shall not be made in the promotion of solaria use.

Section three

Operation of solaria, including
„h Maximum exposure times
„h Skin type exclusion ¡V note, people with skin type 1 ¡V fair skin which always burns and never tans ¡V shall not be allowed to use solaria.
„h Eye protection
„h Hygiene
„h Supervision
„h Client information ¡V note, the following warning notice shall be displayed:

¡V Exposure to ultraviolet radiation such as from a sun-tanning unit contributes to the skin ageing process and may cause skin cancer
¡V People with fair skin and who are unable to tan shall not use a sun-tanning unit
¡V Intentional exposure to sunlight or sun-tanning units should be avoided for 48 hours after sun-tanning unit exposure
¡V Protective goggles must be worn at all times while undergoing sun-tanning unit exposure
¡V No person under the age of 18 shall use a sun-tanning unit without parental consent.

„h Client consent form ¡V note, prior to the commencement of a course of tanning, the solarium operator shall ensure that a consent form is filled out and signed by the client.

The joint Australia/New Zealand Standard: Solaria for Cosmetic Purposes AS/NZS 2635: 2002 can be obtained from:

Standards New Zealand
Private Bag 2439
Wellington 6020
Ph: 0800 735 656

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