NSW EPA urges community to report illegal solarium operators

The community is being urged to help stamp out illegal solariums by reporting any operators advertising UV tanning bed sessions to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The reminder from the EPA comes during National Skin Cancer Action Week with all Australians encouraged to use the five forms of sun protection to help protect against skin cancer in the lead-up to summer.

Offering solarium services for a fee, whether in someone’s home or a commercial premise, is illegal and heavy penalties will apply, the EPA warned.

“The outlawing of UV beds in 2014 has been very successful in drastically reducing the prevalence of UV tanning services,” EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Stephen Beaman said.

“However, some rogue operators still try to sell tanning bed sessions, often using social media to hide their activity from authorities.

“The EPA has received on average 15 tip-offs a year about illegal solaria being offered for a fee, since the ban.

“UV sun beds were banned as they carry significant health risks such as early-onset melanoma.”

Cancer Council NSW Manager, Skin Cancer Prevention Liz King said a systematic review of the research showed people who use solariums before the age of 35 increase their risk of developing melanoma by 59%.

NSW was the first Australian state to outlaw commercial ultraviolet tanning services in December 2014, with clear benefits resulting from the ban.

Australian analysis shows that for young Australians over their remaining lives, banning commercial indoor tanning is expected to prevent more than 31,000 melanomas and more than 468,000 non-melanoma keratinocyte cancers. It also has the added benefit of saving of more than $64 million in healthcare costs and productivity gains of AU$516 million.

Court-imposed fines of up to $22,000 for individuals or $44,000 for businesses can be issued to anyone caught offering UV tanning services for cosmetic purposes for a fee or reward.

Mr Beaman said the EPA would investigate any reports of solariums being offered to the public via ads on online communities such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.

“The EPA welcomes public tip-offs about illegal solaria,” he said.

“We encourage the public to report them with as much details as possible via our Environment Line on 131 555 or email at info@epa.nsw.gov.au.”

Mr Beaman said the details of anyone providing tip-offs to the EPA can be kept confidential if requested.

More information about the EPA’s regulation of solariums can be found on the EPA website.

National Skin Cancer Action Week is from the 21 until 27 November 2021.