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Tanning Salon Association Says Skin Cancer Risk Is Overblown

One member says the risk of skin cancer in professional tanning salons is "statistically insignificant."

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Defying countless warnings from the FDA, dermatologists, and the World Health Organization, a group of tanning salon owners are banding together to try and convince the public that indoor tanning at professional salons is far safer than experts make it out to be. The American Suntanning Association, which was announced this week, wants to "factually dispel [the] myths" that tanning salons are dangerous and cancer-causing.

That'll be tough: both the FDA and the the World Health Organization now classify indoor tanning as "carcinogenic to humans."

Doug McNabb, a board member of the newly-formed association, argues that the World Health Organization's numbers — which has said indoor tanning could increase skin cancer risk by 75% — are skewed to discredit professional tanning salons. He cites a presentation (unpublished) shown at a conference, which he says shows that the cancer risk is far higher with at-home tanning beds and with phototherapy machines at doctor's offices used to treat psoriasis, which he says make the professional salons look bad. He argues that the risk of skin cancer in professional tanning salons is "statistically insignificant." Unsurprisingly, McNabb owns a chain of tanning salons. They are called "Fabutan."

For the record: the American Suntanning Association is anti-Tan Mom. McNabb also believes her skin color wasn't merely the work of a tanning bed. "She was using high levels of bronzing makeup."


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