Illegal commercial solariums are still operating throughout Australia, ABC News reports
The reported proliferation of illegal commercial solariums is costing lives and requires urgent government intervention, says the Melanoma Institute Australia.
The Institute was responding to a report on 7:30, which detailed a thriving underground commercial solarium industry.
Solariums are still legal for personal use, but their use cannot be offered by a commercial organisation for profit, following the tightening of laws around them in 2016.
ABC reporters interviewed a young women who pays $20 per session, three times a week, at an illegal commercial solarium in a Melbourne north home; she says the operations are easy to find.
“It’s underground, definitely,” she told 7.30. “Once they see that you’ve gone with an existing person that already goes there, they’re fine with it.
“One of my friends was going to a solarium, it got shut down, and then she found another one. There’s that many that it’s not hard at all.”
According to the Victorian Health Department, 13 investigations into the illegal operations are ongoing, with 23 solariums seized and one person receiving a fine of $4000 for offering the service.
Melanoma Institute Australia says its research was integral in the banning of commercial solariums across Australia after showing a clear link between solarium use and melanoma.
MIA is calling on government agencies to take immediate action.
“There is conclusive evidence linking solarium use with an increased risk of melanoma,” says Professor Graham Mann from Melanoma Institute Australia.
“Our research focused on patients under 40, and it was really clear that those who’d had more than 10 solarium visits in their life had up to a seven-times greater risk of developing melanoma.
“Illegal backyard solarium businesses are costing lives and urgent action needs to be taken now to shut them down,” he said.
One Australian dies every five hours from melanoma. It is the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39 year olds and kills more 20 to 39 year olds than any other cancer.
Particularly disturbing were comments on 7:30 from young women who are blatantly ignoring the risks and continuing to use solariums, Professor Mann says.
“At a time when families across Australia are taking part in Melanoma March events in memory of loved ones they have lost to melanoma, it was confronting and sad to see young women choosing to put their health at risk for a tan,” Professor Mann said.
“The research is really clear that whatever type of solarium you’re using, in a home or a backyard commercial operation – none of them are safe.
“No tan is worth dying for, and it is time for authorities across the country to step up their prosecution of these illegal solarium operators.
“Ideally, we’d like to see governments take it one step further and ban all solariums, including for private use.
“The health risks are just too high.”