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Tanning beds to be regulated
Yellowknife Centre MLA wants health issues related to tanning devices examined

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Friday, June 1, 2012

Regulations over tanning beds are being put in place in the NWT.

Robert Hawkins, MLA for Yellowknife Centre, raised the issue of cosmetic tanning on Tuesday in the legislative assembly. He said some of his constituents are concerned about recent statistics involving tanning beds.

"The average person doesn't know that some tanning beds emit ultraviolet radiation five times more intense than the midday summer light," said Hawkins.

"Research has also told us that they've found that a person's risk of getting skin cancer increases by 75 per cent if they use these tanning beds before the age of 35."

Health and Social Services Minister Tom Beaulieu said regulations were already in development under the Public Health Act.

"The department is aware of the dangers of sun tanning on a tanning bed," he said.

D'Orient Spa in Yellowknife has two tanning beds, which longtime employee Teegan Rendell said are very popular.

She said the concerns about minors using them aren't really an issue because there are other cosmetic options.

"We have spray tans," said Rendell. "It's just bronzer but it's really fast and looks natural. It's really popular before grad."

Beaulieu said the new regulations will include banning the use of tanning beds by minors and requiring that health warning be posted near tanning beds and tanning booths informing customers of the potential health risks.

"Those regulations are expected to be done this summer and enforced within six months," said Beaulieu.

Both D'Orient Spa and Northern Flair Beauty Salon have already taken precautions.

Northern Flair Beauty Salon insists that all users wear goggles and they have a sign posted forbidding minors from using the bed.

D'Orient Spa, while not strictly forbidding minors from using the beds, pushes spray tans.

"Most of our tanners are in their twenties or thirties," said Rendell.

"If anyone under 18 comes in, well, we push the spray tan."

Like Northern Flair Beauty Salon, D'Orient Spa insists on goggles.

"We have policies about using lotion and goggles. They protect your eyes against the bulbs," said Rendell.

Beaulieu said he doesn't think there will be any public consultation on the matter, but in one way or another, the public will be informed of the changes.

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