Missouri tanning salons allow preteens

March 10, 2013 at 10:34 PM
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ST. LOUIS, March 10 (UPI) -- A survey of Missouri tanning salon operators indicates 65 percent say they would allow children as young as 10 to 12 years old to use tanning beds.

Dr. Lynn Cornelius, chief of the Division of Dermatology and a professor in dermatology at Washington University who was the study's co-author, said exposure to ultraviolet light from tanning beds makes users 75 percent more likely to develop melanoma than non-users, and some studies have reported even higher increased risk.

Cornelius and colleagues identified 831 indoor tanning facilities across Missouri and randomly selected and called 375 of them, posing as prospective clients. For consistency, the researchers made attempts to survey each salon twice.

Of the facilities called, 243 salons completed two interviews and were included in the analysis.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found 65 percent of the participating facilities said they would allow children as young as 10 or 12 to use indoor-tanning devices and employees at 43 percent said there were no risks associated with indoor tanning, while 80 percent said indoor tanning would prevent future sunburns. Both claims are false, the study noted.

Missouri is one of 17 states with no minimum age restrictions on tanning bed use and does not require parental consent, Cornelius said.

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