Proposed bill to make sunbed standards mandatory

A PROPOSED bill to crack down on "cowboy" sunbed and cosmetic laser operators has gained strong industry support.

Backers of National MP Dr Paul Hutchison's Health (Skin Cancer and Trauma Prevention) Amendment Bill are relying on public support to bring the matter to the attention of Parliament after it was not picked in Thursday's ballot.

The bill was aimed at making sure sunbeds and lasers were up to standard, the provider was appropriately qualified and the premises appropriately regulated.

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Under the bill, the voluntary standards for solariums would become mandatory so operators must obtain client consent and under-18s and pale-skinned people would be advised not to use them.

"The issue around sunbeds is one that obviously they are not regulated in New Zealand and there are cowboys and cowgirls using them in a very unwise way," Dr Hutchison said.

"All the literature shows us is the earlier you start using sunbeds, the more likely you are to get melanoma or skin cancers as unfortunately with exposure to any ultraviolet radiation, which includes going out in the sun."

 The bill also proposed regulating laser and IPL devices to ensure they were appropriately used and stop what Dr Hutchison described as "spectacularly bad effects" such as burns caused by inappropriate use.

The New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine (NZCAM), the Indoor Tanning Association of New Zealand (INTANZ) and the New Zealand Cancer Society were all in favour of tighter regulations to crack down on irresponsible operators.

NZCAM censor Dr Garsing Wong said they now relied on gaining public support to force a review of current standards. INTANZ supported mandatory standards but co-chair Kirsty Ethynes said excessive UV exposure, not sunbeds, increased the risk of melanoma.

Topics:  skin cancer solariums tanning

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