Most sunbeds far too powerful, officials say

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SUNLOVERS desperate for a “fast tan” risk being bombarded by four times as much solar energy as they would get roasting in the Australian Outback, experts warned yesterday.

Trading standards bosses have been taking a closer look at the sunbeds used by millions of people in the light of tougher regulations, which also include a sunbed ban on under-18s.

They found the majority of UK salons tested were using equipment far more powerful than EU regulations permitted – which is set as being the equivalent of the midday sun in the Southern Mediterranean and on a par with the amount of daily sunshine in Darwin, Australia.

The legal limit across Europe is 0.3 watts per square metre of tanning bed, after being reduced from 0.6 because of growing health concerns.

The testers found a number of sunbeds they came across were giving out 1.2 watts – four times the limit. Trading standards and environmental health officials yesterday warned that only a limited number of sunbeds are fitted with controls to set the power output.

Clare Forbes, of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, which led the national study, said: “The failures we have found are quite shocking. I don’t think people realise the extent of the risk they are exposing themselves to. We are talking about skin cancer –not a bit of sunburn.

“If anyone thinks they have been on a strong sun bed they should report it to us or consult their GP.”

Salon owners are obliged to fit the correct number of tubes and ensure the guidelines on wattage are adhered to.