Three quarters of sunbeds fail UV test

North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards officers are to carry out a county-wide investigation into sunbed salons after sample tests in the Northallerton and Harrogate areas revealed a 75 per cent failure rate for acceptable UV radiation.

The permitted limit for UV radiation from sunbeds is roughly equivalent to the midday sun in a Mediterranean country. The survey found that only two beds in a sample of eight were within safe limits. The remaining beds were emitting radiation at between one and a half and two and a half times the limit.

The beds that failed the tests were all suspended from use pending repair or the replacement of bulbs. Officers will now expand the survey to cover the whole county.

As we move into autumn officers warned people who may be tempted to use sunbeds to maintain their holiday tan, that they may be risking serious skin damage and worse. They are concerned that customers may have a dangerous misconception that the hotter the sunbed is, the better their tan will be.

Research by Cancer Research UK has found that the levels of UV radiation from sunbeds can be over six times higher than that of the midday sun, with the average skin cancer risk from sunbeds more than double that of spending the same length of time in the Mediterranean midday summer sun. Studies have also shown that up to half of all sunbed users suffer from sunburn following use.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for trading standards said: Sunbeds that fail to meet the requirements are putting consumers at immediate risk of severe burning and may well have longer term health implications.

Following these worrying results, trading standards officers will make further visits to tanning salons across the county in the near future to ensure that traders are being responsible and complying with the safety requirements.

Those premises that are found to have unsafe sunbeds can expect that they will not be permitted to continue in use until they are made safe.


Charles Rowett, Chief Executive Officer at Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: We welcome the move by North Yorkshire County Council to investigate sunbed salons.

Their sample test results are shocking and make it clear that something needs to be done to protect sunbed users across the county.

We would urge people to think twice before topping up their tan at salons during the autumn and winter months.

Anyone who is concerned about a sunbed they have used should ring Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 to report it.

Further information on the health risks associated with sunbeds can be found at

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