Tanning Salons: Option consommateurs denounces major legislative deficiencies and lack of information about risks

MONTREAL, March 4, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Option consommateurs today launched its research report entitled Spotlight on Tanning Salons. In line with its mission to defend the rights and interests of consumers, the organization conducted interviews with 45 frequent users of tanning salons and made 20 incognito visits to salons in Ontario and Quebec in order to shed light on current practices in the artificial tanning industry.

Health and safety: Users are under-informed

According to Quebec's Institut National de Santé publique, over 250,000 Quebecers under the age of 30 attended such salons at least once a month in 2011. In its report, however, Option consommateurs found that the majority of those who use tanning salons minimize the risk of exposure, pay scant attention to instructions and warnings and imagine that the radiation emitted by tanning devices is less harmful than that emitted by the sun, which is not always the case.

These erroneous perceptions are not surprising considering that many customers rely on the advice of the staff of tanning salons for their information. During its investigation, Option consommateurs concluded that this information is often inadequate. What is worse is that most of the employees did not hesitate to offer several sessions to our fair-skinned investigator, who also claimed to be taking antidepressants — two clear counter-indications. In addition, certain salons in Quebec open their doors to minors, in violation of the law.

Finally, the vast majority of salons visited by Option consommateurs' investigators do not comply with the Health Canada's Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations. For example, the labels and accessories that are required in the cabins are either absent or difficult to find.

Harmful radiation

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada and in 90% of cases is caused by ultraviolet radiation. What is more, the World Health Organization has announced that the rays emitted by tanning devices may be more harmful than those emitted by the sun.

Our recommendations

Option consommateurs is concerned about this situation and recommends that federal and provincial governments amend the current legal framework by adding a provision requiring operators of tanning salons to verbally inform users of tanning devices of the risks associated with their use. The operator should also instruct them on the safest way to use these devices, including informing them of exposure times and the recommended interval between sessions.

Option consommateurs also recommends that operators of tanning salons be obliged to issue all their customers a guide informing them of the risks associated with artificial tanning. It should also be prohibited to disseminate messages associating artificial tanning with health benefits.

To consult this report, visit this hyperlink. Option consommateurs received funding for this report under Industry Canada's Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The opinions expressed in this report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or of the Government of Canada.

About Option consommateurs

Founded in 1983, Option consommateurs is a not-for-profit association whose mission is to defend the rights and interests of consumers and to ensure that they are respected. It closely monitors issues related to business practices, financial services, the energy sector and the agri-food industry and does not hesitate to initiate class actions suits whenever warranted.

SOURCE Option consommateurs

For further information:

and requests for interviews: 
Lucie Kechichian
Communications Advisor
514 777-6133
lkechichian@option-consommateurs.org