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Government of Canada announces stronger labelling requirements for tanning beds – Warning labels remind users about skin cancer risk

Article Source: Government of Canada

February 26, 2014 For immediate release

Ottawa – Today, the federal government finalized new regulations mandating stronger health warning label requirements for tanning beds and equipment.

Health Canada has strengthened the labelling requirements for tanning beds to better inform consumers about the health risks associated with the use of these devices.

Once the regulations come into force on May 7, 2014, all tanning equipment sold, leased or imported into Canada must display a warning label with the following message: “Not recommended for use by those under 18 years of age.” The label also features a black bar warning stating: “Tanning equipment can cause cancer” and a bulleted list of other health risks associated with tanning including risk factors such as skin type, photosensitivity and history of skin cancer.

While Health Canada regulates the sale, lease and import of tanning beds under the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, regulation of tanning bed use in commercial establishments, including age restrictions, is being undertaken by provinces and territories. Most provinces/territories in the country currently either regulate, or have expressed an intention to regulate, access to tanning equipment by minors.

Quick Facts

  • According to the World Health Organization, the risk of developing skin melanoma increases by 75% when use of tanning beds starts before the age of 35.
  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada, and melanoma is its deadliest form.
  • While mortality rates have remained stable, killing one in five diagnosed, incidence of melanoma has increased threefold between 1972 and 2006.
  • In 2013, approximately 6,000 Canadians were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 1050 died from it.
  • Exposure to ultraviolet A and B radiation from tanning can cause sunburn, damage to your eyes, and other health effects, including an increased risk of skin cancer.
  • In 2011, James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake in Manitoba, tabled a Private Members Bill in the House of Commons to raise awareness about the harms associated with artificial tanning.

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Sun Awareness Week

Since 1989, the Canadian Dermatology Association’s annual, nationwide Sun Awareness Week has helped educate Canadians about dangers of excessive sun exposure — and reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the country. The Save Your Skin Foundation is happy to support this initiative to build important awareness around skin health.

Sun Awareness Week will take place Monday, June 2 to Sunday, June 8, 2014 and Island Health, the Canadian Cancer Society and Save Your Skin Foundation are joining forces this summer to help prevent skin cancer. The Sun Smart campaign is intended to educate Vancouver Island residents about sun safety and the importance of skin protection while enjoying outdoor activities.

Sun Awareness Week from June 2nd to 8th marks the debut of the campaign. The three organizations will share displays at community events from June through August to provide sun safety information and interactive games that shed light on some of the most common myths about tanning and sun safety. Find out more here: Sun Awareness Week: New partnership to promote sun safety this summer

The CDA will also be holding a number of other events and activities, including:

  • Free skin screenings across Canada
  • School visits by dermatologists, and other activities for children
  • A video competition for teens
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