LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles County Health Officer is discouraging the use of tanning beds, pointing to recent studies concluding that use of tanning beds significantly elevates the risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the World Health Organization (WHO), classified ultraviolet (UV) radiation as a proven human carcinogen.
"Individuals need to ask themselves whether darkening one's skin for vanity's sake is worth the serious risk to their health. Long-term consequences can include premature aging, wrinkling and skin discoloration, in addition to higher risks for cancer," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and, in 2007, caused 171 deaths in Los Angeles County. Young people are at highest risk of developing cancer; those who use tanning beds before the age of 30 increase their risk by 75%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Cancer Society. In October of last year, California banned the use of tanning beds for those under age 18. UV light treatment for specific medical conditions, such as psoriasis, should be administered under medical supervision.
For information on preventing melanoma, visit the American Cancer Society website at http://www.cancer.org/index or visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website at http://www.skincancer.org/.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter: LAPublicHealth.