Scientists have been saying for years that tanning beds are dangerous and they point to numerous studies showing a direct link between tanning beds and skin cancer, including deadly melanoma. But a controversial new group representing 1,400 tanning salon owners claims that scientists are wrong. That the so-called evidence linking sunbeds to cancer is “ridiculous” and that doctors are conspiring to scare away tanning salon customers.

Of course, scientists are appalled by their tactics. The World Health Organization says flat-out that the ultraviolet light from sunbeds causes cancer. Studies show that people who use tanning beds from a young age have a 75 percent higher risk for melanoma. And several groups – including The American Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer – are trying to convince the FDA to restrict the sales and use of tanning beds and lamps.

But the group – called the American Tanning Association - insists that tanning is a good source of Vitamin D, which the body creates in response to UV light. They also claim that vitamin D cures everything from autism to breast cancer and that dermatologists have unnecessarily scared people about sun exposure, and have created an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.    

But according to the National Academy of Sciences, you can’t get vitamin D from a tanning bed, because they mainly emit UVA rays. And it's the sun's UVB rays that stimulate vitamin D production! Plus, after only a few minutes in the sun, we reach our vitamin D production limit - and any further exposure actually destroys the vitamin, decreasing vitamin D levels!

Also, 15 minutes in the sun - and 15 minutes in a tanning bed - are NOT equal. 15 minutes in a tanning bed is the equivalent of spending HOURS in the sun.