Information for sunbed service providers
The use of sunbeds is prohibited for children under 18 years of age. In addition, according to the Radiation Act, each sunbed site shall have a designated responsible person who is always present when the sunbed equipment is used. Thus, unsupervised sunbeds are illegal in Finland.
UV radiation causes cancer
Tanning beds produce UV radiation that tans the skin, but can also burn the skin and cause skin cancer. The most common skin cancers with a clear link to UV radiation are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and dark cell carcinoma, or melanoma.
Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are usually benign and develop as a result of long-term exposure, usually in older people. They occur mainly on the face and hands, which are constantly exposed to sunlight.
Malignant melanoma typically develops on the skin of the body or limbs. Unlike other skin cancers, melanoma occurs in relatively young people. Repeated skin burning during childhood or adolescence increases the risk of developing melanoma. Sunbed use has also been found to increase the risk of melanoma.
There are no thresholds for the amount or duration of exposure to UV radiation. In other words, there is no safe lower limit for UV radiation from tanning beds. UV radiation also prematurely ages the skin. Intense UV radiation can cause inflammation of the cornea of the eye, known as snow blindness. In addition, over a longer period of time, the myelin of the eye can develop opacities and even cataracts.
Setting up a solarium service
The operation of a solarium does not require a licence from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). However, before starting solarium operations, the solarium operator must notify the municipality's health protection authority. In order to prevent harmful health effects from UV radiation from solariums, the Radiation Act lays down requirements and restrictions for the provision of solarium services.
Requirements for solarium operations
The operator is responsible for the safe operation of the solarium. The operator must designate a responsible person and ensure that eye protection is available and that radiation safety and operating instructions are displayed in the solarium. The use of the solarium is prohibited for persons under the age of 18 and compliance with the age limit must be monitored.
Solarium services are regulated by the Radiation Act and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) regulation issued under the Act. The competent authority for radiation legislation is STUK. Municipal health inspectors carry out their inspections under the Radiation Act in accordance with their own monitoring plan.
STUK supervises the safety of solarium equipment and its use. The main form of supervision is on-site inspections, which may be carried out on an unannounced basis.
Municipal health inspectors and STUK
The municipal health protection authority also inspects solarium operations and equipment as part of its control activities. The national health protection surveillance programme sets the inspection frequency for solarium sites at 0.2, i.e. once every five years. The municipal health protection authority submits its inspection findings to STUK. If there are deficiencies or omissions in the matters inspected under the Radiation Act, the health protection authority does not issue orders for corrective measures. STUK acts as the authority in these matters and, if necessary, obliges the operator to remedy the deficiencies found during the inspection. However, the municipal health protection authority may, within the limits of its time and resources, give the operator instructions and advice to put things right.
The municipal health protection authority may charge the operator a fee for the inspection it carries out.