The health effects of sunbeds

Based on the available scientific evidence, the EU’s independent scientific committee has published its preliminary opinion that ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a complete carcinogen, both an initiator, and a promoter. There is strong evidence that sunbed exposure causes skin melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and, to a lesser extent, basal cell carcinoma, especially when exposure starts young. There is also some evidence that sunbed exposure may cause ocular melanoma. Sunbed use is responsible for a noticeable proportion of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers and for a large percentage of melanomas arising before the age of 30. The committee also concluded that sunbed exposure has few health benefits, and there is no need to use sunbeds for optimal Vitamin D levels. Because of evidence of the carcinogenic effects of sunbed exposure and of the nature of skin cancer induction (there are no indications for threshold levels of UV-irradiance and UV–dose), there is no safe limit for UV irradiance from sunbeds.

This opinion has been published for public consultation and people have until March 21st to respond.

To take part in the consultation, on the ec.europa.eu website.