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New study shows sunbeds double cancer risk

18th January 2008

New study shows sunbeds double cancer risk

The Government must act to regulate the sunbed industry following a new report which found the cancer risks associated with sunbed use are much higher than previously thought, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

In a report analysing 21 previous studies, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research found that people who first used a sunbed under the age of 35 raise the risk of forming the dangerous skin cancer melanoma by 98 per cent.

The World Health Organisation has previously reported that there is up to a 75 percent increase in the chance of developing melanoma among those who had first used a sunbed in their teens or twenties.

The latest study also found an individual's chance of developing melanoma increased by 22 per cent if they had ever used a sunbed, compared to those who had never used a sunbed.

Ms Kedgley has been repeatedly calling for the regulation of the rapidly growing sunbed industry in New Zealand, and says this new study provides further compelling evidence for tighter controls.

"The Health Minister must act quickly to regulate the industry. Voluntary standards which prohibit people under 18 and people with fair skin from using sunbeds must be legally enforced," Ms Kedgley says.

"A Green Party survey showed that these voluntary standards are routinely ignored by many sunbed operators, and some have never even heard of them.

"The sunbed industry is experiencing rapid growth in New Zealand. A significant proportion of users are adolescent and female, and are oblivious to the risks they are exposing themselves to.

"Over a thousand New Zealanders are diagnosed with melanoma each year and hundreds die from it.

"Given the findings of the Australian report, failure by the Health Minister would be utterly irresponsible," Ms Kedgley says.


ENDS

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