FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
American Academy of Dermatology Teams Up with Drug Stores
- The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Schering-Plough, The Walt Disney Company and Roche Vitamins - back controversial self-serving advocacy group -
Atlanta, GA, April 16, 2004 - In an effort to sell more sun care lotions and vitamins, a new, self-serving advocacy group - "The Sun Safety Alliance (SSA)," is masquerading as an objective professional association to dissuade people from enjoying the Vitamin D health benefits associated with ultraviolet light. SSA is being formed as a nonprofit coalition. Supported by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), SSA's founding members are The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), and Schering-Plough HealthCare Products' Coppertone® sun care products (NYSE:SGP) - and include Roche Vitamins and The Walt Disney Company's (NYSE: DIS) DisneyHand program as members. In order to sell more products, the group is planning to launch a retail store merchandising campaign disguised as an educational program.
Outlawing Bikini's Next?
"Short of advocating the outlawing of the bikini, both the SSA and the AAD have ignored more than 60 years of scientific research which shows no definitive link to melanoma from occasional and moderate sunlight exposure," said Michael Stepp, a widely published UV researcher and expert, and president and CEO of Wolff System Technology. "Both groups are using fear tactics to drive the sales of sun lotions, vitamins and visits to dermatologists, which benefit their members.
In a press release issued this week by the SSA, Wolff System Technology believes SSA has misled the media by making or attributing the following false claims:
The AAD claims each year that even moderate exposure to sunlight can have deadly consequences. These stories come from a professional society representing dermatologists, and are sometimes persuasive to both consumers and the media. Anti-tanning lobbyists such as the AAD have intentionally confused the public to believe that any UV light exposure is dangerous. In fact, regular moderate sun exposure is not linked to melanoma, but intermittent sunburn - particularly among those who are predisposed to sunburn - is believed to be the risk factor.
During the past several months, several important new developments have been presented to scientific forums that underscore the vital role vitamin D plays in human health. While the indoor tanning industry promotes its services for cosmetic purposes, the production of vitamin D from exposure to ultraviolet light is a well-documented side effect of tanning outdoors under the sun or indoors in a professional tanning facility. The sun's rays are a key source of vitamin D, which reduces the risk of colon, breast, prostate and other cancers.
Vitamin D, commonly known as the "sunshine vitamin," is created in the body after exposure to sunlight and is essential for maintaining proper health, including the body's absorption of calcium and the proper function of muscles. Recent reports by The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New York Times, CNN, WebMD, The Chicago Tribune, Newsday and NBC News have been fair and balanced presenting both sides of the story, which is contrary to the ADA message of sun avoidance. Every May, the ADA has issued sun exposure warnings as part of their "Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month" campaign.
What the SSA and the AAD Aren't Telling You
Putting it all in proper perspective
According to the AAD there will be about 95,880 new cases of melanoma in 2004, which will claim the lives of an estimated 7,910 people during the year.
Despite the SSA's special interest caused by founding member Coppertone®, sunscreen has not been shown to reduce the risk of melanoma [Dennis et al., 2003]. According to Dr. Holick's new book, "The UV Advantage", SPF 8 reduces Vitamin D production by 97.5 percent and SPF 15 reduces it by 99.9 percent. This blocks out the sun that humans need to produce Vitamin D.
400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis. Recent studies indicate that 50% of the cases can be prevented through UVB exposure through the production of vitamin D. Thus, 200,000 cases of multiple sclerosis in the U.S. may have been prevented through moderate exposure to UVR.
According to published research by Dr.William Grant, 1,334,100 new cases and 556,500 deaths were expected from all types of cancer in the U.S. last year. Dr. Grant's published scientific work analyzing the geographic variation in cancer mortality rates with respect to solar UVB indicated that there were approximately 45,000 premature deaths and 130,000 preventable cases of cancer annually through additional UVB exposure and/or vitamin D.
In conclusion, indoor tanning has been found to be loosely associated with an increase in melanoma rates in studies in Europe and Canada, while no increased risk was found in the U.S. Even if indoor tanning were associated with an increased risk of developing melanoma, the risk pales in comparison to the health benefits resulting from vitamin D production from the UVB in tanning lamps.
"We believe both sides have validity in their arguments, and even though we also have a vested interest, we are willing to provide the media with scientific evidence that the dermatologists ignore or are unaware of," said Stepp. Since 1978, Wolff, as the founder of the indoor tanning industry in the U.S., has been the leading advocate of health related and cosmetic benefits in the U.S. for both the media and consumers alike.
Angered by research activities of professionals not under their control, medical associations such as the AAD - now in cooperation with other self-serving organizations such as SSA - are spreading misinformation in large public relations campaigns "designed to put competition from small businesses such as tanning salons and equipment suppliers out of business," Stepp added.
Researchers and tanning salon operators advise patrons to tan responsibly - to limit exposure time and use safety goggles to protect their eyes - and to make sure they are not using medications that have warning labels noting that they make users more sensitive to sunlight.
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About Wolff System Technology
Wolff System Technology is one of the industry's leaders in the promotion of responsible tanning practices and has always promoted responsible tanning in moderation to protect the skin from sunburn and skin damage.
Moderate indoor tanning - for individuals who can develop a tan - is the smartest way to increase the potential benefits of sun exposure while minimizing the potential risks associated with either too much or too little sunlight.
Wolff System Technology was founded by Friedrich Wolff, "the father" of the indoor tanning industry. Since 1978, Wolff has been a leading advocate of the use of UV light for health-related benefits and a leading educator to the media and consumers of responsible tanning techniques. The company manufactures lighting systems for tanning beds and with patents in 16 countries, is the exclusive licensor of Wolff System certified tanning beds in the United States and Canada. As the leading manufacturer of lamps for indoor tanning beds, Wolff has more than 500,000 systems in use worldwide. For more information, visit www.wolffsystem.com, or contact 1-800-959-6533 or email email@example.com.