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Tanning Beds and Melanoma

Those involved with non-ionizing radiation protection may be interested in
a good review article* by Swerdlow and Weinstock in the January 1998 issue
of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatolgy.

The authors note it is generally plausible that tanning lamps might cause
melanoma, and found 19 published case-control studies on the association of
tanning lamp use with melanoma.  Six of these studies found a significant
positive association, most found no statistically significant association
and none found a significant inverse association (i.e., a "hormesis" type
of effect).  The authors cite many "methodologic" concerns with all the
studies, such as no indication of the intensity and spectral outputs of the
tanning lamps, low "power" to detect a plausible size of association and
several other difficulties.

The authors conclude that the popularity of tanning lamp use, especially by
young persons, adds urgency to the quest for elucidation of the relation
between the use of these devices and melanoma risk.

* "Do tanning lamps cause melanoma?
   An Epidemiologic assessment"

Anthony J. Swerdlow and Martin A. Weinstock

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatolgy, Volume 38, Number 1, page 89.


Eric Cowdrey
Radiation Protection Officer
Department of Medical Physics
Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation
100 Olivia Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3E 0V9

Telephone: (204) 787-2166/4145
Fax:       (204) 775-1684
E-mail:    ericc@mail.mctrf.mb.ca