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Greens: New Sunbed Safety Guidelines Need Legal Force

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Sue Kedgley
Sue Kedgley

26 January 2009 - Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling on the Government and Health Minister Tony Ryall to follow Australia and make newly-released sunbed guidelines mandatory.

Ms Kedgley says she welcomes the new joint Australian/New Zealand guidelines - that restrict sunbed use for fair-skinned people and those under 18 - but says regulatory force is needed to make them compulsory.

"The sunbed industry is experiencing rapid growth in New Zealand. A lot of users are adolescent and female, and are oblivious to the risks they are exposing themselves to. Over a thousand New Zealanders are diagnosed with melanoma each year and hundreds die from it.

"That's why we urgently need to make the voluntary standards mandatory, particularly the requirement that no one under 18 can use a sunbed. Until these guidelines are mandatory there's still potential for unscrupulous operators to ignore the guidelines and for young people to be put at risk of developing skin cancer from sunbed use.

"What is the point of spending millions of dollars on Government programmes trying to prevent skin cancer when not enough is being done to reduce a known cause of skin cancer as studies show sunbed use can double the risk of skin cancer?" Ms Kedgley says.

More Government scrutiny and monitoring of the sunbed industry are obviously needed, says Ms Kedgley. She has repeatedly called for more Government regulation as Green Party studies have shown many operators routinely ignore guidelines.

"It is obvious that self regulation is not providing adequate protection for New Zealand consumers, so the Government needs to show some leadership on this vital health issue."

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