Entries in Ultraviolent Light (3)


California Bans Tanning Beds for Minors

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- A new California law that prohibits anyone younger than 18 from using tanning beds drew praise from health organizations when it was signed this weekend.

The law, signed on Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown, takes effect Jan. 1.  Currently, California law permits teenagers who are between 14 and 17 to use the beds provided they have parental consent.

The American Academy of Dermatology expressed support for the law in a statement, noting that previous research has shown that people who have used indoor tanning are at 75 percent higher risk for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.  Indoor tanning also raises the risk of other types of skin cancer.

“The American Academy of Dermatology Association applauds the state of California for being the first in the nation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices for all children and adolescents under the age of 18 -- the most restrictive law in the country,” Dr. Ronald L. Moy, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association, said in the statement.  “We commend Gov. Brown, Sen. Ted Lieu and the other members of the California legislature for their efforts to help reduce the future incidence of skin cancer by protecting youth from the dangers of indoor tanning.”

Other professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, have expressed support for similar laws.  In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, placed tanning beds in its Class 1 carcinogen category.  Cigarettes, plutonium and ultraviolet radiation from the sun are in the same category.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Do UV Nail Dryers Pose a Skin Cancer Risk?

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After getting a manicure at a nail salon, many people in a rush opt to use an ultraviolet nail dryer -- a shortcut that exposes hands to the same skin-damaging UV rays emitted by the sun and tanning beds.  Although the intensity is much less than that of a tanning bed, some experts say enough exposure over time could increase the risk of skin cancer.

"Ultraviolet exposure is cumulative," said Dr. Darrell Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.  "Like a meter in a taxicab, it only goes forward.  And the faster you go, the faster the meter goes."

Chronic, low-level UV exposure can cause basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma -- the most common forms of skin cancer often seen in people who spend a lot of time outside.  When spotted early, the cancers are easy to treat, unlike melanoma -- a rare skin cancer caused by acute high-level UV exposure, also known as sunburn.

"You could keep you hands in a UV nail dryer for an hour and not get a sunburn," said Rigel.  "But it's still UV exposure, and you want to minimize that as much as you can."

A 2009 report published in Archives of Dermatology detailed two cases of non-melanoma skin cancer on the hands of women who frequented the nail salon -- a 55-year-old with a 15-year history of twice-monthly appointments and a 48-year-old who went eight times in one year several years before her diagnosis.  Both women had cancer on the backs of their fingers, leading the report authors to suspect UV nail lamps as a possible trigger.

UV nail dryers are most often used to "cure" gel nails, but they're also used to harden some acrylic nails and traditional polishes.  A standard dryer has four nine-watt bulbs emitting a small fraction of the skin damaging UV rays of a 60 200-watt bulb tanning bed.  But for nail salon regulars or people who have UV dryers at home, the exposure can add up.

"…We know that UV light increases your risk of cancer (and wrinkles), and if you're going to the nail salon every two weeks (or weekly), that will add up to significant exposure," Dr. Roshini Raj, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, wrote in her book, What the Yuck?! The Freaky and Fabulous Truth About Your Body.  "My two cents?  Use them sparingly, or, better yet, let your nails dry on their own.  It may take a bit longer, but it's worth the effort to save your skin."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Updated Guidelines for Sun Protection In Children

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ELK GROVE VILLIAGE, Ill.) -- Though many parts of the country continue to deal with bitter cold, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued an updated policy statement on skin cancer prevention and safe sun exposure practices in children.

The recommendations include wearing protective clothing, timing children's outdoor activity to minimize sun exposure between 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. when possible, applying sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15, and wearing sunglasses. Infants younger than six months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight all together, the Academy says.

Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization note their support for legislation that would ban the use of artificial tanning devices by individuals under the age of 18. Some tanning units produce ultraviolet radiation so strong that they can at times reach strengths 10 to 15 times higher than peak midday sun.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio