Tanning Salons Play Down Hazards, Lawsuits Claim

(New York Times:  Published 04/23/2015, O’Connor, Anahad, Web)

The New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, filed lawsuits against two popular indoor tanning salon chains on Thursday, accusing them of playing down the hazards associated with indoor tanning and promoting the practice as a healthful activity.  The authorities said that the two chains, Portofino Spas and Total Tan, had violated state laws against deceptive business practices by making statements on their websites and in advertisements suggesting that indoor tanning not only was safe, but also could increase vitamin D production and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Many health agencies and experts have issued warnings about indoor tanning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that indoor tanning can cause premature aging of the skin and several types of skin cancer, including the most lethal, melanoma. A large study last year estimated that indoor tanning contributed to 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States every year.  “Indoor tanning exposes users to two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer,” the C.D.C. says on its website. The agency also warns that indoor tanning raises the risk of blinding eye diseases when eye protection is not used, and states that while vitamin D is important for good health, the safest way to obtain it is through food.

The lawsuits were filed as part of a broader investigation into indoor tanning salons in New York. Last year, the attorney general announced a settlement that barred another tanning salon, Hollywood Tans NYC, from making health claims such as “sunlight prevents skin cancer” and “the American Cancer Society doesn’t want you to know the truth about tanning beds.”

David Fisher, the chief of the dermatology department at Harvard Medical School and the director of its melanoma program, said he applauded the attorney general’s investigation.

“The public health impact of this problem is hugely important,” he said, “and I think this action is looking for accountability where there is so much risk to so many people. It’s a big step in the right direction.”

The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of families in Reading, Berks County, PA, Pottsville, Schuylkill County, PA, and throughout Eastern and Central PA.  The lawyers there handle personal injury claims, including claims for injuries or death caused by unsafe or dangerous products.

From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire.

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