CDC: Tanning beds creating 'an epidemic'

May 10, 2012 (CHICAGO)

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According to an official with the Centers for Disease Control, tanning beds are driving "an epidemic in the making".

Despite the warning, patrons are still going to beds. Spring is the busiest time, according to Paola Trentadue, who manages the LA Tan outlet in the Loop. She says her industry follows state guidelines that requires parental consent for minors to tan and that ought to be enough.

"You have to educate clients. There are customers who want to go in longer than we recommend and we have the final say because we don't want to burn customers," Trentadue said.

Customers seem to agree. Nora Gorman supports a tan ban on minors but says any sun damage she has was caused a long time ago.

"As an adult my age almost 50 years old, I think we know how to lay out in the sun properly," Nora

Nevertheless the Centers for Disease Control found half of Americans under age 30 reported getting sunburned in the last year despite increased use of sun blocking agents. It added that indoor tanning before age 35 increases a person's risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent. Sunburn indicates too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Alderman Debra Silverstein (50th Ward), who grew up under the hot sun of Memphis, believes banning tanning for minors in Chicago should be a no-brainer for City Hall

"I'm a mother. As a parent, I want to protect my children. I think we need to protect our children. If parents don't do it on their own, then we need to let them know this is a hazard," Alderman Silverstein

A doctor at a busy Lincoln Park clinic said doctors have pleaded with patients to be wary of the perils. They say there is no safe level of indoor tanning for minors -- and the signs of damage are apparent.

"Suspicious moles [are] a confusing thing for us. I feel like just a generation ago, melanoma was [rarer] and now it's going up and up and we don't fully understand what is causing this," Dr. Peter Lio, Illinois Association of Dermatologists, said.

The highest prevalence of indoor tanning is reported among white females, 18-21 years old in the Midwest. Approximately 44-percent of people in that category engage in indoor tanning.

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