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Cancer Society warns tanning beds are dangerous

By Ross Lees
Tanning salons came under attack by the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society and the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit during a committee of the whole meeting of Prince Edward County council Thursday afternoon.
Jeffrey Brace, vice-president and volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Hastings Prince Edward County unit and himself a cancer survivor, joined Cindy Kirkpatrick, a registered nurse with the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, in warning against the use of cancer-causing devices like tanning beds, especially by youth.
“It is a health issue that concerns all of us and has resulted in a protracted battle which has been costly in human lives,” Brace said. “People between the ages of 15-29 need to be protected from cancer -causing devices and speed of action is vitally important,” he warned.
Using tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases the risk of contracting melanoma skin cancer by 75 per cent, he advised. He noted municipalities are usually able to act faster in passing bylaws which protect the health of citizens, using smoke-free and cosmetic pesticide bylaws as examples.
“I urge you to develop an indoor tanning bylaw that will:
Restrict the use of indoor tanning equipment by youth under the age of 18.
Restrict indoor tanning promotions and marketing targeted to youth.
Develop and maintain a registry or licensing system of indoor tanning equipment in Ontario with fees put towards enforcement.
Introduce mandatory, comprehensive, Ontario specific training for all staff operating indoor tanning equipment.
Ensure that the health risks associated with UVR emitting devices are displayed prominently and in clear view of clients at all indoor tanning facilities.”
Brace warned council that with 26 per cent of young women aged 16-24 using indoor tanning equipment, action needs to be taken quickly.
The situation in Ontario made the problem even more troubling, he stated, adding that a Canadian Cancer Society poll indicated more than 50,000 of Ontario’s high school aged students use indoor tanning equipment.
“This is extremely disconcerting as indoor tanning equipment can emit ultraviolet radiation, a known human carcinogen, at levels that are five times stronger than the mid-day summer sun,” he added.
Brace said action is required quickly in that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada while also being one of the most preventable.
“I strongly encourage the Prince Edward County council to support the Canadian Cancer Society’s call to action on indoor tanning.”
When asked by councillor Barb Proctor what was happening about this situation at the provincial level, Brace stated, “In talking with MPP Leona Dombrowski about this situation, she indicated she didn’t think the proposals were strict enough.”
Committee of the whole passed a motion to receive the presentation.

Filed Under: Local News

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