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This erroneous report comes from “across the pond” in Scotland; specifically, from a group called the Highland Council – which made me think of the movie, “Braveheart.” But alas, it didn’t feature Mel Gibson swinging a sword … just an administrator with a pen. So, let’s take a look:
Highland Council has launched an audit into the north’s tanning salons amid national concerns. The council, one of several local authorities in Scotland which license UV tanning salons, launched the check to verify compliance with EU safety standards regarding the output of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There have been concerns nationally that the UV bulb strength in many cases have been found to exceed the standard for such equipment. The use of any UV tanning equipment may expose both staff and customers to UV radiation. UV radiation can cause injuries in the short term – like sunburnt skin or conjunctivitis – and ill health in the long term, including premature skin ageing, skin cancer and cataracts. Gregor MacCormick, Senior Environmental Health Officer, said: “Due to the known risks from the use of UV tanning equipment it is important that members of the public can have confidence in the licensing regime and be reassured that all our licensed operators within the Highland Council area are fully compliant with the current safety guidelines”.
Here is the IST Sun is Life® “Watchdog” reply:
I just completed a review of the recently published account of increased tanning salon inspections that were performed to confirm accurate UV emissions from tanning equipment (link goo.gl/QpaogH.) The account included the following passage: “The use of any UV tanning equipment may expose both staff and customers to UV radiation. UV radiation can cause injuries in the short term (e.g. sunburnt skin or conjunctivitis) and ill health in the long term (e.g. premature skin ageing, skin cancer and cataracts).” I’m sure you are aware that conjunctivitis is an infection, typically bacterial, that is also commonly known as “pink eye.” The infection may cause itching and discharge around the eyelid, and is typically treated with antibiotics. Although those with conjunctivitis may become sensitive to light, exposure to UV radiation does not cause conjunctivitis.
I’m sure you’ll agree that accuracy in disseminating information to the public regarding health issues is of the utmost importance. Clearly, this error should be explained to Scottish tanning salon operators, as well as the public. I look forward to the clarification.
Sun is Life Training & Certification
Mr. MacCormick took the time to reply, but alas, it fell short of my expectations.
Thank you for your email and interest in the project we are currently undertaking. Whilst I note your comments I must advise that we took this statement from the HSE published guidance – Reducing health risks from the use of ultraviolet (UV) tanning equipment.(hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg209.pdf). Please refer to the opening paragraph of this document. The advice being provided by our Service is therefore consistent with the current HSE advice in respect of UV tanning equipment. In view that you highlighted the issue, however, I did some further research myself into the matter for my own peace of mind. I attach further guidance from the World Health Organisation on the known effects of UV on eyes, including photo conjunctivitis – see link goo.gl/DR6wWe. I am therefore satisfied that the statement within press article you refer to is factually correct. I trust this clarifies where this statement originated and why our Service used it for the purpose of our project. We have only just commenced conducting visits to sunbed operators but will publish the results in due course should you be interested in the final outcome.
So, I made sure that he understood his “miscommunication,” but not before checking with a true professional and eye protection guru, Eye Pro President, Brenda Fishbaugh. She in turn, checked in with Dr. Mark Kimpel, retired Navy doctor and retired Mayo Clinic Ophthalmologist.
Conjunctivitis is any inflammation of the conjunctiva; that is the very thin membrane coating over of the white part of the eye. Keratitis is any inflammation of the cornea, which is the clear part of the eye. Most people using the word, Conjunctivitis, are referring to bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, which are infectious. Technically, conjunctivitis does mean any inflammation, but if not specified, it is usually assumed one is speaking about infectious conjunctivitis. This is the same for keratitis; if not specified, it is assumed one is speaking about infectious keratitis. Photo conjunctivitis or Photokeratitis are specific terms for damage to the conjunctiva or cornea from UV rays. It is also called UV Conjunctivitis or UV Keratitis. Wink-Ease disposable eyewear would prevent both infectious keratitis and conjunctivitis, since the eyewear is used only once. It would also prevent UV conjunctivitis and UV keratitis, as they protect the eyes from UV rays.
I considered this expert info when crafting my response:
First, I must thank you for your prompt reply. Unfortunately, this does not clear the matter. In the interest of public safety, I’m sure you’ll agree in accuracy. I do agree and will not debate the causal association of UV and “photoconjunctivitis.” However, the medical malady I question is related to the use of the word “conjunctivitis,” which I pointed out in my original post. While photoconjunctivitis is related to UV exposure, conjunctivitis is not. The American Optometric Association offers the following: What causes conjunctivitis? There are three main types of conjunctivitis: allergic, infectious and chemical. The cause of conjunctivitis varies depending on the type.
Changing the passage to “photoconjunctivitis” from “conjunctivitis” should be considered.
I look forward to seeing your clarification as you initiate your visits to Scottish tanning facilities.
All the best,
Joe Schuster, Instructor
Sun is Life Training & Certification
There is a substantial amount of incorrect information submitted to the public regarding indoor tanning. IST works fervently to correct this and welcomes any opportunity to set the record straight. Send suggestions to the IST Sun is Life Watchdog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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