UV radiation: solarium

Tanning has become a fashion trend quite recently. Till the beginning of the 20th century, it was believed that beautiful people were those whose skin was white. However, the social and financial changes from the end of the 19th century till the beginning of the 20th century ultimately changed beauty standards. Tanned skin was a basic sign of a pretty and healthy person, being desirable by more and more people. Sunbathing became extremely popular and, from the first decades of the 20th century, ultraviolet radiation lamps for artificial tanning were launched in the market. Artificial tanning became a top trend from late 70s onwards.

Nowadays, artificial tanning is extremely popular worldwide and is broadly used for cosmetic purposes. Quite astonishingly, it is considered a safer choice for tanning compared to sunbathing, despite the fact that sunbeds emit ultraviolet radiation, the level of which may be often higher than the hot midday sun during summertime in a Mediterranean country.

The extremely serious concerns raised about ultraviolet radiation and its adverse health effects initiated the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue guidelines in 2003 for the safe use of artificial tanning equipment.

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the sunbeds radiation at Group 1 “carcinogenic to humans”. Group 1 is the highest risk category that includes the most dangerous carcinogens for humans like asbestos, gamma radiation and tobacco smoking among others.

EEAE recognizing the high importance of the matter, the lack of data regarding UV emissions from sunbeds and the quality of artificial tanning services in Greece, as well as the lack of relevant national legislation, completed recently the first surveillance action of the artificial tanning sector in Greece.

The results of this first surveillance action conducted in Greece demonstrate the necessity of regulating the artificial tanning sector and underline the importance of continuing the relevant inspections in Greece. Hence, a proposal for the formulation of national legislation for the control and regulation of the artificial tanning sector in Greece was introduced.

In order to mitigate the inspections’ alarming results and to be harmonized with the technical standards’ requirements, a national code of practice and an online training course for sunbeds operators, along with the relevant textbook, were developed. Moreover, informative material was published in order to raise awareness of artificial tanning hazards and to guide the users through the approved artificial tanning procedures.

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