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The World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday that sunbed use poses a risk of skin cancer, and that no person under 18 years of age should use a sunbed. "It is known that young people who get burnt from exposure to ultraviolet light will have a greater risk of developing melanoma later in life, and recent studies demonstrate the direct link between the use of sunbeds and cancer," WHO said in a press release.
This is something that confused me a bit. First off, people in Sweden and Norway are probably genetically predisposed to such problems, since their genetics are not 'tuned' to dealing with significant sun exposure. But also, from what I understand there is more than one type of UV, and I am not entirely clear if 'both' classes of UV are causing the melanoma (or if exposure to the type that normally never reaches the ground does). One is sub-dermal and actually necessary for the bodies production of a vitamin, but also more destructive, since it isn't blocked. But is 'that' what is causing melanoma with long exposures or the frequency that doesn't penetrate the skin as much? Are the beds instead exposing us to the type that normally isn't even able to reach the ground at all? And for that matter, do we know that UV is the 'only' way to induce a tan, or that some limited range of UV might produce the desired effect, but eliminate or minimize the negative effect?
Seems to me that the problem with sunbeds is that once people figured out that the UV would create a tan, no one bothered to figure out 'what' part of hte UV spectra was actually needed or even if it was actually safe. This happens a bit too often in the real world, where no true scientific study is ever conducted to figure out what is needed for the desired result, what levels are safe (of any), what exposure times are safe or even if there is a safe range of UV that produces the result, but not the negative side effects. I see lots of studies of cancer vs. exposure, but very little serious 'research'. After all, studies only show correlation, not the specific 'why' of what is happening or even 'if' it can be prevented, short of completely stopping such exposure entirely.