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
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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 7, 2012