Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety
A public consultation on the preliminary version of the Opinion was open on the website of the Scientific Committees from 22 January to 27 April 2016. Information about the public consultation was broadly communicated to national authorities, international organisations and other stakeholders.
A public hearing was also organised in Luxembourg on 12 April 2016, which saw the participation of 26 organisations. The public hearing aimed to complement the public consultation to gather specific comments, suggestions and explanations or contributions to the scientific basis of the Opinion.
Thirty-five organisations and individuals participated in the public consultation providing input to different chapters and subchapters of the Opinion, providing in total 284 contributions and nearly 1000 comments.
Each comment and reference submitted during this time has been carefully considered by the SCHEER. Where appropriate, the text of the relevant sections of the Opinion was edited or explanations were added as a result of relevant comments. The literature has been updated with relevant publications. The scientific rationale and the Opinion sections were clarified and strengthened. In instances where the SCHEER, after consideration and discussion of the comments, decided to maintain its initial views, the Opinion (or the section concerned) remained unchanged.
Content of the opinion
Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR), including that emitted by sunbeds, is a complete carcinogen, as it acts both as an initiator and a promoter.
Review of recent scientific evidence found that in Europe, almost 3,500 of 63,942 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year may be related to sunbed use, women representing 68% of this burden. Almost 500 women and 300 men may die each year from a melanoma as a result of indoor tanning. Most of the risk concentrates in the population that started sunbed use before the age of 30-35 (59-75%).
Based on the available scientific evidence, the SCHEER concludes that exposure to UVR, including that emitted by sunbeds, causes cutaneous melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma at all ages and that the risk for cancer is higher when the first exposure takes place in younger ages. There is moderate evidence that exposure to UVR, including that emitted by sunbeds, also increases the risk of basal cell carcinoma and ocular melanoma.
The SCHEER also states that the potentially beneficial effects of sunbed use such as generation of vitamin D are outweighed by the adverse effects. There is no need to use sunbeds to induce vitamin D production because alternative sources of vitamin D are readily available.
Finally, as there is no threshold level of UV-irradiance and UV–dose for the induction of skin cancer, the SCHEER concludes that there is no safe limit for exposure to UV radiation from sunbeds.