Undercover Survey Conducted to Expose Tanning Clinics

An undercover survey conducted by MidCentral District Health Board revealed that sunbed operators are under fire. A woman in the guise of a customer visited 25 clinics but found that only one had adequate safety warnings. MidCentral Health Protection Officer Tui Shadbolt revealed that the woman was fair-skinned and should have been advised against using sunbeds, but astonishingly only one operator advised her not to use it.

The Cancer Society has been prompted by the survey and it calls for the new voluntary standards to be made compulsory, which were introduced in New Zealand and Australia last year. Judith Galtry, the Cancer Society skin cancer adviser suggested that people falling under the age of 18 years and those with fair skin should be banned from using sunbeds.

The undercover woman also looked at operators' warning signs, session briefings and safety advice, while conducting the survey.

About ten of the 25 clinics failed to provide safety advice and permitted the woman to use a sunbed in spite of her fair skin. The rest of the 14, though, gave her some safety advice, but insisted that she can use the sunbed.

Ms. Shadbolt said, “If you are intending to use sunbeds you should look for an operator who assesses your skin type and consults with you about how long you should use the bed”.