A 29 year old Pennsylvania woman diagnosed with malignant melanoma has filed a lawsuit against a tanning salon over failing to warn about the risk of cancer from tanning beds.
The complaint was filed last month by Kristin Powell in Allegheny County Common Pleas court against Hollywood Tans and their parent company, SK Tans Inc.
Powell has been tanning since she was 16 and went to Hollywood Tans from 2005 to 2009, according to the lawsuit. She has been diagnosed with melanoma on her left leg, breast and torso. The complaint alleges that her dermatologist determined that the melanoma was caused by years of UV exposure from tanning beds.
In recent years, there has been mounting evidence linking tanning bed use to skin cancer. Some studies have shown that use of tanning beds by young adults results in eight times the risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer once found mainly in the elderly, but which has increasingly become a problem for younger adults.
The American Cancer Society says that melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is diagnosed in about 69,000 Americans each year and causes about 8,650 deaths annually. Less dangerous, but more common, basal and squamous cell carcinomas affect more than one million Americans each year and cause about 2,000 deaths annually.
One of the studies was by the World Health Organization in July 2009, which indicated that use of tanning beds before the age of 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by 75%. As a result of the study, WHO reclassified ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds as a definite carcinogen . Previously, they were considered “probable” carcinogens.
There have been increasing calls for a ban on the use of tanning beds for children under the age of 18. In March, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) called for such a ban and an FDA advisory committee made similar recommendations in March 2010.
The FDA reports that a growing number of children are counted among the ranks of tanning bed users, with nearly 10% going to indoor tanning businesses in 1999. The report also expresses concerns by some researchers that as many as 95% of indoor tanning customers are exceeding the recommended safe time in tanning beds.