Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tanorexic Teens in the Booth

Must we repeat ourselves? It seems we must. The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA), industry mouthpiece for the tanning bed merchants, has launched the oxymoronic "heathy tan."

The ITA exists for the purpose of "promoting responsible sun care and sun burn prevention" in the same way Altria (aka Phillip Morris) promotes public health in third-world countries. It "represents thousands of indoor tanning manufacturers, distributors, facility owners and members from other support industries" employing "more than 160,000 people and...more than $5 billion annually..."

If you go by the ITA press release page, the "sunshine vitamin" D is a cure-all for cancer and scientists are just one short step away from endorsing indoor tanning beds as a drug delivery device. The campaign is aimed at those least likely to be deficient in vitamin D: young, caucasian female teenagers.

This week's Newsweek provides an article summarizing the ITA's fallacious assertions. The average amount of sun required by said caucasian teenagers is 5 minutes 3x week of unprotected midday (10am - 4pm) sun exposure. Just think about trying to avoid that amount of sunlight. Researchers have found the highest incident of vitamin D deficiency in otherwise health women of the Middle East: those covered head-t0-fingertip in burkas. I'm not kidding.

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