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Healthy Tanning Beds? Experts Say No

Skin Cancer Researchers Oppose Industry Campaign to Portray Tanning Beds as Healthy

Tanning Industry Responds

In a statement issued Wednesday in response to a request from WebMD, International Tanning Association Executive Director John Overstreet accuses the authors of the newly published reviews of making "irresponsible assertions without providing any concrete link between indoor tanning and melanoma."

"The fact is, UV light provides vitamin D which helps the body ward off many types of disease; the rewards that come from moderate and responsible exposure to UV light far outweigh the consequences of not getting enough of it," Overstreet says in the statement.

Fisher disputes this claim, and adds that people can get all the vitamin D they need by taking supplements of the vitamin.

"In this day and age, advocating exposure to a carcinogen to get a vitamin doesn't make any sense," he says. "People who are truly vitamin D deficient should be monitored by a physician who can recommend the right amount of supplementation."

American Cancer Society Deputy Chief Medical Officer Len Lichtenfeld, MD, agrees.

"Why expose yourself to an increased risk for skin cancer when you have a safe alternative in cheap and readily available supplements?" he says.

Lichtenfeld points out that the American Cancer Society, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, and all major dermatological associations have taken the position that indoor tanning is an unsafe practice.

"It is nefarious how this industry group tries to promote this practice as safe when every reputable medical organization disagrees," he says.

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