Ultraviolet radiation added to government list of known carcinogens

provided by American Academy of Dermatology

hile dermatologists have long known that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial light sources such as tanning beds and sun lamps can cause skin cancer, the Department of Health and Human Services has made it official by adding it the government's list of known carcinogens.

    In its National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) report issued this past December, “broad spectrum ultraviolet radiation produced by the sun and artificial light sources” was added as a known carcinogen to the 10th annual cancer listing of 228 substances linked to cancer.

    “Numerous studies have shown time and time again that overexposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to skin cancer,” said dermatologist Fred F. Castrow II, MD, President of the American Academy of Dermatology. “This report should be a wake-up call to people who continue to tan – through natural sunlight or artificial sources – despite our repeated warnings.”

    Among the other substances listed in the NIEHS report as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens” are ultraviolet A, B and C radiation, which have shown a relationship to skin cancer.

    Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 1 million new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. It is estimated that 87,900 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – in 2002 and approximately 7,400 deaths will be attributed to melanoma this year. At this rate, one person dies of melanoma every hour.

    The American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of over 14,000 dermatologists worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM or www.aad.org