France cracks down on cancer-producing sunbeds

24th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - The French government warned on Thursday it would carry out a nationwide crackdown on tanning salons, saying it would closely check ultraviolet sunbeds to ensure they do not exceed dose limits.

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - The French government warned on Thursday it would carry out a nationwide crackdown on tanning salons, saying it would closely check ultraviolet sunbeds to ensure they do not exceed dose limits.

"Ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer, and I am going on the offensive," Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told a press conference.

Inspectors would carry out snap checks in the coming months, and salons which break the law can expect to be closed down and their operators face criminal charges, he said.

The action comes after a protest by a French consumer group, UFC-Que Choisir, which found that the strength of UV lamps in many tanning salons was stronger than the permitted norm.

Tanning salons have proliferated in France as a quick and convenient way to get a healthy-looking suntan.

They do their best business in the run up to the summer, when people are worried about exposing pale flesh on the beach and want to get tanned before they go on holiday.

Sunbeds use the UVA part of ultraviolet frequency, which traditionally is presumed to be safer than UVB.

But in a report last month, France's Academy of Medicine said UVA is just as likely cause skin cancer and ageing of the skin as UVB, a conclusion also reached in March by a study published in the United States' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The Academy's report has unleashed a big debate on sunbeds, although so far no change in the law is being planned. Douste-Blazy's announcement aims at upholding existing regulations.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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