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Government can improve safety in sunbed industry now

24 August 2011

Government can improve safety in sunbed industry now

The Government should stop procrastinating and regulate the sunbed industry immediately in order to protect consumers’ health, the Green party said today.

The Green Party has repeatedly called for regulation of the sunbed industry for many years.

“It’s time for the Government to stop dragging its feet on the issue. Sunbed operators must be made to comply with regulations to reduce the risk of skin cancer immediately,” said Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

“Voluntary regulation is not working, and many in the industry are not adhering to the voluntary code. Stricter rules and better enforcement are needed to help save lives.

“While I applaud Simon Bridges for his concern about the issue, the matter is too important to be left to a Members Bill. The National Government can and should act to fix the industry now.

“A Members Bill may never be selected from the ballot and could take years to pass.”

New Zealand has one of the highest melanoma rates in the world, with over 2000 people diagnosed with melanoma each year and hundreds dying from it. Studies show that the level of UV rays people are exposed to on a sunbed are five times stronger than the midday sun and this is why sunbed use can double the risk of skin cancer.

“The sunbed industry is experiencing rapid growth in New Zealand and thousands of young women, and even girls, are using sunbeds routinely, oblivious to the risks they pose. Many believe it is a safe way of being tanned,” said Ms Kedgley.

“There is no point spending millions of dollars on Government programmes to prevent skin cancer when the Government won’t take any action to reduce a known cause of skin cancer.”

ENDS

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