Sunbed industry warned of misleading health claims

Sunbed operators are being told not to understate the risks of sunbed use.
Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
Sunbed operators are being told not to understate the risks of sunbed use. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

Sunbed operators are being cautioned by the Commerce Commission about overstating the health benefits of sunbed use.

The warning comes amid concerns that misleading claims are being made about the safety of sunbed use by some operators, the commission said.

The commission said it had written to 280 operators cautioning them under the Fair Trading Act about overstating the benefits of sunbed use and understating the risks.

"We are giving them information about compliance with the Fair Trading Act and raising the issue publically so that consumers are aware of what experts say can accurately be claimed about sunbed use," Commerce Commission, general manager competition, Kate Morrison said.

"We expect the industry to comply with the Fair Trading Act and hope that informed consumers will question the claims the sunbed operators make.

The Commission asked a senior dermatologist to provide an assessment of the benefits and risks of sunbed use.

The dermatologist found:

*Short-wavelength Ultraviolet B light was carcinogenic and there was increasing evidence the longer wavelength Ultraviolet A used in sunbeds penetrated the skin more deeply and could lead to skin cancer.

*Photo-aging of the skin, and eye damage, including the formation of cataracts, were other risks of exposure to UV light through sunbed use.

*UV light on a sunbed does not replicate the sun's light, and light in modern sunbeds was not healthier than natural sunlight.

The dermatologist concluded there were minimal health benefits associated with sunbed use.

- NZ HERALD ONLINE

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 29 Aug 2014 20:30:14 Processing Time: 397ms