Go to top of page

Study reviews the cancer risk from the use of solariums

This was a review investigating the risk of exposure to artificial tanning devices (sunbeds) and the risk of melanoma. The review included an analysis of three cohort studies, multiple case-control studies and various meta-analyses. The authors reported that the cohort studies display consistent results of increased risk of melanoma associated with sunbed use. The authors further stated that the meta-analyses, which included all published studies until 2012, demonstrate an increased risk of melanoma associated with sunbed use. The largest of these meta-analyses, which included 27 studies between 2006 and 2012 found a pooled relative risk (RR) of 1.20 (95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.08-1.34). This risk was reported to be higher when exposure took place at younger age (RR = 1.59; 95% CI 1.36–1.85). The authors concluded that there is overwhelming evidence that ultra-violet radiation (UVR) from artificial sources is carcinogenic. They recommend that there should be efforts to strengthen regulations for the use of sunbed. 

Authored By: 
Gandini et al
Published In: 
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 2019
Literature Survey Date: 
Commentary by ARPANSA: 

This review outlined the epidemiological evidence for an association between solariums and melanoma. The evidence presented supports Australia’s nation-wide policy to ban all commercial solaria. Sunbeds emit both UV-A and UV-B radiation, both of which are listed as carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO). Exposure to both types of UVR in a tanning bed increases the risk of developing skin cancer. An Australian study that examined the use of tanning beds, prior to the Australian ban, found that they contribute to 43 melanoma-related deaths and 2572 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma per year in Australia (Gordon et al, 2008). Although solariums have been banned in Australia since 2016 in commercial settings, there are no restrictions for personal use and Australians travelling overseas may still seek tanning services abroad. ARPANSA’s advice is to avoid using artificial tanning services and equipment due to the association with skin cancer.