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Teens & Tanning: Safety Information for Parents

From the show: Healthy Children
Dr. Sophie Balk, MD
Guest Bio
Guest Bio: Dr. Sophie Balk, MD
Sophie Balk photoDr. Sophie Balk is a general pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx NY. Dr. Balk's academic work focuses on environmental health issues relevant to children. She is a past Chairperson of the AAP Committee on Environmental Health and Associate Editor of Pediatric Environmental Health, also known as the Green Book published by the AAP. Dr. Balk has lectured regionally and nationally on smoking cessation, sun safety and other environmental health issues. She is the lead author of the AAP's technical report and policy statement on ultraviolet radiation.
 




The use of tanning salons is a common practice among teenagers, especially females. In a national survey, 24% of non-Hispanic white teenagers 13 to 19 years of age used a tanning salon at least once.

The UVR radiation produced by some tanning units can be 10 to 15 times higher than the midday sun.

The tan that occurs represents a protective response to these harmful rays.

Skin damage occurs whether a tan comes from the sun itself or from artificial light from a tanning salon. Tanning salons are not safe and should not be used by teenagers or others.

Along with the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports legislation prohibiting access to tanning salons or use of artificial tanning devices by children under the age of 18.

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