"Tanning Mom" Is Hilarious, And All, But Skin Cancer In New Jersey Has Increased 43-Percent In 10 Years
Happy "Melanoma Monday" -- as we all continue to laugh and laugh (and then cry) at "Tanning Mom," the latest leathery boob to humiliate New Jersey, skin cancer has increased 43-percent in the Garden State, and the American Cancer Society credits the increase to the rise in indoor tanning.
If you're unfamiliar with "Tanning Mom" Patricia Krentcil -- and how she allegedly stuffed her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning bed (and then -- in fine New Jersey fashion -- made a total ass of herself on national television) -- click here.
"It's no coincidence that we're facing a melanoma crisis at the same time there's a proliferation of indoor tanning salons," Ethan Hasbrouck, New Jersey director of advocacy for the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey. "Indoor tanning increases risk of developing cancer. Many teens don't see their behavior as dangerous and many parents don't fully understand what's at stake."
In response to the increase -- and Krentcil's alleged antics -- public health advocates are urging New Jersey lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban anyone under 18 years old from using tanning beds.
According to officials at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, tanning beds are in the highest cancer risk category -- group 1 -- which is defined as "carcinogenic to humans." Other cancer-causers that fall under "group 1" are arsenic, asbestos, benzene, dioxin, mustard gas (yes, fucking mustard gas!), tobacco smoke, and vinyl chloride.
According to the IARC, using indoor tanning devices before the age of 30 increases melanoma risk by 75-percent.
To illustrate its point, the group offers the anecdote of 27-year-old melanoma survivor Alyson Dougherty, who was a frequent indoor tanner in her younger years.
"Tanning beds are not safe for anyone, let alone kids and I have the scars to prove this," Dougherty says. "When I was a teenager, I used indoor tanning often before proms and other events. I thought I was invincible. Little did I know that I would be diagnosed with skin cancer years later."
Today, the Dermatological Society of New Jersey celebrated "Melanoma Monday" by conducting free skin cancer screenings for legislators and staff at the New Jersey state Capitol. For more on "Melanoma Monday" -- and the risks of tanning booths -- click here.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.