Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On 7 May 2009 Newsround's first item was a press pack report from Kelly, who wanted to warn children to stay away from tanning salons. The first story on Newsround at 5pm this evening was also about the danger of sunbeds.

Ore: We're always being told sunbeds are dangerous, but today scientists are saying they're even more harmful than we thought. They reckon young people who use them are more likely to get skin cancer than those who don't. So what exactly are the risks? Gavin's been finding out.

Gavin: On a sunny say it can seem like there's nothing better to do than head down to the beach and take in a few rays. But living here in the UK can make that pretty difficult. So some people head down to their local sunbed salons to top up their tan, but the trouble is that can be pretty dangerous to their bodies, and it isn't always obvious at first. The dangers of sunbeds have been talked about for years. In the past world health bosses thought using them could lead to cancer. But now they say it definitely raises the risk, and is as dangerous for you as smoking cigarettes.

Jessica Harris (Cancer Research UK): Sunbeds give out UV radiation which is the same kind of radiation that comes out the sun. And what that does - it goes into your skin and damages DNA inside your cells and can lead it to change, and in the future that damage could build up and develop into skin cancer.

Gavin: Not everyone agrees with the new research though. The Sunbed Association says there's no proven link between using salons sensibly and getting skin cancer.

In the last half-minute of his report, Gavin went on to say that tanning shops will be banned for under 18's in Scotland from December, and he said the Government will decide what to do for the rest of Britain pending more research.

Perhaps Gavin's report would have been improved by explaining that the Sunbed Association disagreement might be because it is a trade association, funded by the industry. The news was, after all, based on extensive scientific research. And science itself is about proof, not about profit.

Lastly there was the Sunbed Association's reference to using salons "sensibly" - a term which wasn't defined, although the camera zoomed in momentarily on a notice giving safety advice to patrons.

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