Tanning beds are considered carcinogenic to humans, which means that they cause cancer. The World Health Organization classifies tanning beds as a Group 1 carcinogen putting them in the same category as asbestos, tobacco, alcohol and other known carcinogens.1,2, 3
Research shows that tanning beds emit higher doses of UV radiation than the sun, especially UVA radiation which has been estimated to be 10 to 15 times above what would be expected in the midday sun.4,5
1. IARC. Agents classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1-100. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2010. Available here
2. IARC. A review of human carcinogens. Part D: Radiation. IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. 2009 Lyon: France. Available here
3. IARC. The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: A systematic review. Int J Cancer. 2006;120:1116-22.
4. Gerber B, Mathys P, Moser M, Bressoud D, Braun-Fahrlander C. Ultraviolet emission spectra of sunbeds. Photochem Photobiol 2002; 76:664-8.
5. Miller SA, Hamilton SL, Wester UG, Cyr WH. An analysis of UVA emissions from sunlamps and the potential importance for melanoma. Photochem Photobiol 1998;68:63-70.