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Keywords:

  • sunbeds;
  • UVA radiation;
  • UVB radiation

The objectives were to survey tanning salons in a defined geographic area of Buenos Aires city and to assess the information offered to consumers regarding chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation, types of radiation used, and safety measures employed. A prospective study using a standardized interview with limited multiple choice responses for data collection was conducted. Results of the interview survey were that 35% of the establishments (tanning salons) said they used UVA exclusively, 6% UVB, and 25% both; 35% did not know the type of radiation to which their clients were exposed. Sunbeds were promoted as healthy in 56% of the tanning salons, whereas potential risks were mentioned in only 15%. One to 3 sessions on the same day were allowed by 84%, while 40% allowed customers to choose the number of weekly sessions. The use of goggles was optional in 65% of the establishments and 21% did not even provide goggles. Use of sunscreens was not compulsory, and none of the salons had associated physicians. Previous history of skin cancer, sunburn or potential photosensitive drug intake were never recorded, and the age of access was not restricted in 71% of the establishments. In Argentina there are no guidelines to regulate the operation of tanning salon establishments or the equipment they use, and there are no specific measures taken to prevent skin and ocular pathologies. Ways to reduce the risks of ocular and skin pathologies from artificial tanning in Argentina are urgently needed.