(Luxembourg) Last week on Tuesday (12 April), 11 representatives of the indoor tanning industry from Europe and beyond participated in the hearing on sunbeds organized by the European Commission and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) held in Luxembourg.
On 22 January, SCENIHR had published its preliminary opinion on “Biological effects of ultraviolet radiation relevant to health with particular reference to sunbeds for cosmetic purposes”. Until 27 April stakeholders have the possibility to submit written comments.
In the run-up to the submission deadline, the European Commission together with SCENIHR decided to organize a public hearing on the above matter to give stakeholders and experts the possibility to comment and ask questions in the presence of the opinion’s author. Representatives from the tanning industry lined up with experts and representatives from manufacturers to point out the serious shortcomings and bias in SCENIHR’s work so far, including a selective use of scientific evidence and failure to take account more recent studies conducted after the entry into force of the 0.3 W/m² irradiation limit for sunbeds introduced in 2007. Moreover, the committee used data which does not pertain to the European population or the reality of indoor tanning in Europe. The draft opinion reflects a clear lack of expertise concerning UV radiation; in fact the committee itself acknowledged that the research had been entrusted largely to two “independent” experts in dermatology – both well known for their opposition to sunbeds.
Representatives from the tanning industry from Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, Canada and the United States emphasized the above points, demonstrating precisely where the draft’s authors erred.
“The hearing showed that the preliminary opinion does not justify any changes to the current standards or legislation applicable to sunbeds in Europe”, ESA President Christina Lorenz concluded. .“It was also a very good sign to see that scientists from the respective fields (UV, Vitamin D, light,…) participated in the hearing and reinforced industry’s comments. All in all, a very holistic image of the areas for improvement of the preliminary opinion was painted. We now expect SCENIHR to take a critical look at the draft prepared by its working group.”
The final opinion will be published once all comments are reviewed and after it has been approved by a plenary meeting of the scientific committee. You will find more information about it on our website in the coming months.