Warning over ‘out of this world’ radiation risks to sunbed users in Barnsley

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CHECKS on tanning salons in a Yorkshire borough have found people using sunbeds are being blasted with levels of radiation normally found in outer space.

Officials at Barnsley Council found 83 per cent of sunbeds tested were over the legal radiation limit, with one in 10 as many as four times above.

Coun Roy Miller, cabinet spokesman for development, environment and culture, said: “It is disappointing to find such high levels of non-compliance.

“The legal levels of irradiance of 0.3W/m2 represent sun strength at midday at the equator.

“Sunbeds well above this level are blasting customers with rays that are only found in outer space. The levels found are literally out of this world.

“We expect all sunbed operators within Barnsley to ensure that they comply with the legislation and acceptable standards of safety.”

Sharon Stoltz, acting director of public health for Barnsley, said: “The high levels of radiation measured during this survey create a real risk of a future increase in skin cancer cases in the Barnsley area.

“Other effects of tanning can include premature aging of the skin, cataracts, sunburn and wrinkles.”

Checks found members of the public and salon staff did not fully understand the potential risks linked with using sunbeds without adequate protection.

Most businesses relied on customers to clean up after themselves and as a result most sunbeds inspected were dirty and had dusty vents. Some sunbeds had broken electrical parts, while some salons did not offer free eye protection to customers.

Officers visited all known sunbed businesses in the borough and offered advice about the levels of radiation emitted from their sunbeds, the potential effects of sunbed use on health and the importance of controlling sunbed use in compliance with legislation.

Where appropriate, they were advised to upgrade their equipment and amend their operating systems. Officers warned businesses that any further failures could result in enforcement action.