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New Tanning Bed Danger Possible: New Study

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With the summer-like weather Western New York enjoyed this just-ended weekend, more than a few people may have tried to add to their summer tan. We all know skin cancer can result from extended exposure to the sun, or to the artificial rays of tanning beds. Now a new British study notes that tanning beds may be more dangerous than many experts believe.

Conventional wisdom says UVB rays-which also cause sunburn-are to blame for skin cancer. But the study, published late last week in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology,says that UVA rays-they pass through clouds and glass, and cause wrinkles and other age marks-are at least as dangerous.

Researchers discovered that UVB rays were more likely to cause skin cancer in the uppermost layers of skin. But the UVA rays penetrated lower, causing skin cancer lesions in the deepest levels. Study author Dr. Antony Young says the results are more ammunition to end the practice of allowing teens to use tanning beds [England already has a ban in place, but at least 18 US states (including, surprisingly, Hawaii) allow teens to use tanning beds. New York has some restrictions in place, mostly requiring eye protection, but only banning those under 14 from the beds].

John Overstreet, an indoor tanning spokesperson, says the study is irrelevant, and that “health police critics” are confusing science with advocacy. He notes that tanning bed bulbs are designed to mimic the noonday sun.

Do you use, or let your teenage children use tanning beds? Will this new report change that? Let us know, either here or on our Facebook page.

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