Authored By:

Gordon et al

This study estimated the overall future economic and health benefit of banning commercial solaria in Australia. The study modelled the health and economic impact on the cohort of Australians aged 12-35 years in 2007, which amounted to 6.95 million people. The authors estimated the number of skin cancers and skin cancer death that would be averted due to the commercial solaria ban for this cohort and the resulting economic impact. They then compared this to similar estimates if no ban was in place. The authors reported that with the solaria ban there would be 31,009 fewer melanomas, 3017 fewer melanoma deaths and 468,249 fewer keratinocyte cancers over the lifetime of the cohort. It was also estimated that when accounting for both the loss of productivity associated with cancer and the cost of health there would be a saving of over 580 million dollars for the Australian economy. The authors concluded that banning commercial solaria is both an effective health policy and a good economic decision for government.

Published In:

Health Policy, April 2020
Commentary by ARPANSA:

A previous study from the same research group (Gordon et al, 2008) estimated that, in Australia, 281 cases of melanoma, 43 melanoma related deaths, and 2572 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma were caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from indoor tanning every year prior to banning commercial solaria.

Commercial solaria were banned in all states and territories across Australia by 2016. The estimates of skin cancer morbidity and mortality presented in this study offer a compelling argument for justification of the banning measures put into place. However, because the ban applied only to commercial solaria, it is still possible for an individual to have a tanning bed for personal use. People that use solariums should be aware that exposure to UVR from tanning beds increases the risk of developing skin cancers. This is especially topical in Australia where the skin cancer rates are among the highest in the world. Further, the World Health Organization through the International Agency for Research on Cancer categorises UVR as carcinogens. The ARPANSA factsheet Solaria and tanning beds further explains the ban of commercial solaria and the risk of their use.

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