Sunbed Use in Many Welsh Salons Falling Short of Safety Guidelines; Environmental Health Experts to Call for Tighter Regulation

Article excerpt

Byline: Madeleine Brindley Health Editor

NO STAFF are on hand at two-thirds of sunbed salons in parts of South Wales, a shocking study has found.

The research revealed that staff are often not present to give users vital tanning advice in so-called manned salons.

The study also found that sunbed users could be exposing their skin to higher doses of UV radiation as it emerged some machines do not comply with guidelines.

Environmental health experts will today call for tighter regulation of the industry, including licensing salons.

The research found that UV type-two beds are being used in unmanned salons - the British Standard, which is not legally enforceable, states that these beds should be used under the supervision of "appropriately" trained staff.

Environmental health student Jenna Cloke also found that more than half of the 24 salons visited in the Vale of Glamorgan and Merthyr Tydfil would allow people to spend more than 12 minutes on a sunbed.

Some did not even know the maximum time limit allowed.

Some 65 sunbeds - both manned and unmanned - were tested by Miss Cloke as part of her dissertation for a BSc Honours in Environmental Health.

The research, which will be presented at a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Wales conference today, is published a week after a 14-year-old suffered 70% first degree burns from using an unmanned salon.

Kirsty McRae, who lives in Barry, had spent 19 minutes on a sunbed at the unmanned Lextan salon in the town. She was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff overnight because of her injuries.

Miss Cloke said: "The research was intended to mirror that done in Scotland - their results were more conclusive, but ours still showed that there are beds in operation that are not necessarily compliant with the British Standard.

"What you really need when you go to a sunbed salon is someone who can assess your skin type properly and put together a course of sessions for you. …