In this issue of The Melanoma Letter, we address the developments underlying a recent flurry of media attention and public policy action related to artificial ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices. A major impetus for all this attention was the extensive, authoritative report on the subject prepared by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a working group affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO). We are very grateful to Dr. Philippe Autier, who headed up the Unit of Prevention Evaluation that issued the report, for providing an outstanding synopsis of the science covered in the 64-page document, which concluded that artificial tanning devices are carcinogenic in humans.
In a companion piece, we share some of the exciting tanning bed policy changes occurring internationally in response to the WHO’s addition of these devices to Group I, its most dangerous cancer category. The data affirming the risks of tanning beds has continued to mount since the IARC review. The rapidly growing evidence supports the blanket recommendation of a recently released FDA educational video: “Avoid using device-generated UV sources such as tanning beds entirely.”