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ASA Melanoma Statistics

28/07/2008

Australasian Solarium Association inc. [ASA] Melanoma Statistics

It is not only the introduction of legislation by the Victorian Government that has caused immense hardship to solarium operators, but the hysterics by parts of the media reporting the unfortunate death of Clair Oliver.
At no stage was it ever proven, or attempted to prove, that the Claire Oliver's melanoma resulted exclusively from her 6 or 10 solarium sessions. As per her own admissions she was overexposing herself regularly outdoors, before ever setting foot into a sun tan centre. Any semi intelligent media person could have ‘googled' the causes of melanoma and would have found on the http://www.mayoclinic.com this excerpt:
"Just what damages DNA in skin cells and how this leads to melanoma is a matter of intense study. Melanoma is a complex disease that often results from a combination of factors, including environmental and genetic factors, rather than from a single cause. Still, excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a leading factor in the development of melanoma, whether the radiation is from the sun or from tanning lamps and beds.
Other causes of melanoma
UV light doesn't cause all melanomas, especially those that occur in places on your body that don't receive exposure to sunlight. This indicates that other factors may contribute to your risk of melanoma. "
Without any proof certain parts of the media called solaria "killer boxes"; solaria operators had the words "murderers" spray painted on those parts of their windows that were not already smashed by rocks, and media outlets called for a total ban of legitimate businesses.
Immediate trials and convictions by media have made legitimate businesses and users of Solaria virtual outcasts, and worse of all, created a public perception that only the solarium tan is dangerous and melanoma producing.
The various Cancer Councils in Australia have been fanning these flames with their consistent reminder that "Solaria emit 5 times the noonday sun", even though this level of radiation was perfectly legal under the Australian Standards 2002.
Solaria were allowed to emit 5 times the noonday sun, but measurements by the ARPANSA showed that the overwhelming majority of sun beds in Australia only emitted 2 to 3 times the noonday sun.
All these hysteric antics pressured the Victorian Minister of Health to be seen to " do something"
And what has been done?
The highest fines in the world for underage tanning; close to $ 750,000.00, while the fines in the same State for the sale of tobacco to minors is around $ 1,000.00, or an on the spot fine of $ 200.00. Tobacco in Victoria kills an estimated 2,200 people a year

Mr. Jason Frenkel as a spokesperson for the Minister of Health uses the usual numbers game for his message, but does not even attempt to put these figures into perspective.
We would like to do that for him, so he can understand the math:
"Five Victorians are diagnosed with melanoma every day, and five die from it each week".
That would make it 1825 people diagnosed with melanoma in Victoria per year, and 260 people dying from the same disease per year.
The much quoted Gordon Report from the Queensland Institute of Medicine comes to the conclusion that
0, 1% of all deaths from Melanoma may be attributed to Solarium use.
Surmising these figures means for the State of Victoria:
Diagnosed with melanoma attributable to Solaria = not quite 2 people per year
Diagnosed with melanoma not attributed to Solaria = 1,823.175 people per year
Death rate from melanoma attributable to Solaria = 0.26 people per year, or one person every 4 years
Death rate from Melanoma not attributed to Solaria = 259.75 people per year
-----------------------------------
Mr Frenkel denied the new laws had been responsible for small businesses closing down, after gloatingly being pleased with the reduction in sun beds.

Here is another relationship:
• 128 business owners in Victoria have either lost their homes, gone bankrupt or owe huge amounts of money to banks, suppliers or land lords.
• One employee per business equates to 128 unemployed Victorians, and about 1 Million Dollars in lost taxes.
• To date the government has audited 15 per cent of 308 tanning businesses to ensure they comply with the new legislation and are carrying the warnings they should.
46 shops in 6 months? 2 shops a week?
That does not seem to be very much for the urgency of saving 0.26 lives per year!
And all of this is pleasing for the Victorian Government?

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