01.CHOICE welcomes NSW solarium ban
The NSW government has banned commercial ultraviolet solarium tanning units from the state, effective 31 December 2014.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer now classifies solariums as “carcinogenic to humans”. This puts solariums in the same category of risk as such things as asbestos, formaldehyde and plutonium.
“Solaria use is associated with a range of skin cancers, including melanoma, which is the most life-threatening form of skin cancer and the most common form of skin cancer among 15 to 39-year-olds,” says NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker.
CHOICE has been fighting for a ban on solariums for years and welcomes the change, but believes it does not come soon enough.
“While CHOICE believes the NSW ban is a step in the right direction, we are disappointed that despite the health risks associated with solaria use, the ban doesn't come into force for three years,” says CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just.
“The period of time allowed for the transition will mean more people may be adversely affected by tanning beds.”
Parker says the three-year gap before enforcement of the ban will enable the solarium industry time to adjust to the changes, remove the tanning units and transition businesses to safer alternatives. But a spokesperson for Parker did admit that many businesses are multi-operational, “they’ve got spray tans, hairdressers, beauticians. There’s a limited number that are purely operators of sun bed salons.”
Jay Allen, a melanoma survivor and anti-solarium campaigner, says the ban has been a long time coming. “Ideally I’d like a ban straight away. But I’ve had that many knockbacks over the years that this is fine. It gives the solarium industry time to get rid of their sunbeds and get safer alternatives. Robyn Parker really needs to be applauded because she’s done a really good thing here.”
CHOICE also believes it is time for other states to enforce a ban of solariums.
“What is happening nationally on this? Product safety is a national issue,” says Just. “We want to see all other states and territories enforce a similar ban. Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, and we know that solaria are a contributing cause of skin cancer.”
Allen believes that other states may soon join NSW. “We just needed one state government to step up to the plate. Now the others will follow.” Allen is in talks with the Greens, the WA health minister, and key figures in Qld and Victoria. “It’s only a matter of time before it’s a national ban.”
Find out more about the NSW ban, and for more News, see Consumer news.