Sunbeds should be in the ‘highest cancer-risk category’ and labelled ‘carcinogenic to humans’ as they increase the risk of skin cancer, says a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The report, published in The Lancet Oncology, warns that tanning machines can dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer among children and young adults.
It says: ‘The risk of skin melanoma is increased by 75% when use of tanning devices starts before 30 years of age.
‘Additionally, several case-control studies provide consistent evidence of a positive association between the use of ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices and ocular melanoma (eye cancer).’
The Sunbed Association has disputed the research, saying that there is ‘no proven link’ that ‘responsible’ sunbed use leads to skin cancer.
According to its website, 7% of the UK’s adult population - over 3 million - use sunbeds, and 95% of users do not exceed the European standard on maximum number of sessions a year. It also says that 83% of users claim to be quite or very knowledgeable about the possible risks.
However, The Department of Health says that the Government may now look at new laws to exercise tighter control of the use of the beds.