Skin Cancer xxix, 2011 : Page 64

INTERNATIONAL PHOTO: ROBERTO VINICIUS the economic interests,” according to federal prosecutor Priscilla Coelho, the coordinator of judicial affairs re-sponsible for defending the legality of RDC 56/09. “The very law that created Anvisa authorizes the agency to act to prevent damage or the possibility of damage to the nation’s health. Indoor tanning beds present a serious risk of damage,” she said. At press time, Anvisa had won most lawsuits filed against RDC 56/09; injunctions have been lifted, and the tanning ban is in effect. occurred, of which 5,930 were mela-nomas. 3 As Luiz Roberto Klassmann, Anvisa’s assistant director, explains it, publication of the IARC report led Brazil to “public discussion about the possible prohibition of tanning beds for cosmetic use, based on their risk to public health.” The debate culminated in a public hearing at the agency’s headquarters in September, 2009. A few weeks later, resolution RDC 56/09 was enacted, and the use of UV tan-ning equipment for cosmetic purposes was officially prohibited. FOR AND AGAINST The resolution was supported by the Ministério da Sáude (the Health Min-istry), the Instituto Nacional de Câncer (The National Institute of Cancer), the Sociedade Brasileira de Dermatologia (SBD, the Brazilian Society of Derma-tology), and the Sociedade Brasileira de Cirugia de Dermatológica (SBCD, the Brazilian Society of Dermatological Surgery). Said dermatologist Nilton Nasser, MD, an SBCD member and one of the SBD representatives at the public hearing, “As the IARC report showed, [tanning beds] are widely known to be harmful to health and without any proven benefits.” The resolution faced just one major opponent: the indoor tanning 64 EXPECTATIONS It is too early to measure the impact of the ban on the skin cancer incidence rate, in part because there is no record of cases proven to be specifically caused by indoor tanning in Brazil, Tanners protest the 2009 ban nor are doctors in Brazil required to report melanoma diagnoses to the industry. As soon as RDC 56/09 was health data system. 2 Furthermore, published, the Associação Brasileira Brazil is a tropical country where de Bronzeamento (ABB, the Brazilian people frequently receive solar UV Association of Tanning Professionals) exposure on the beach, at parks, and sued Anvisa. The trade association in pools, explains Dr. Dolival Lobão, claimed that the measure interfered chief of the Department of Dermatol-with free will and penalized an ogy at the Instituto Nacional de Câncer. industry that boasted three million However, this in no way diminishes users per year and employed 50,000 the importance of the resolution. 4 professionals. However, according “Epidemiologists say that with the to Marcus Maia, MD, another SBD ban, Brazil has eliminated one of the representative at the public hearing, the tanning industry exaggerated the variables that cause skin cancer,” said resolution’s economic consequences. Klassmann. The wide dissemination “There was only one legitimate tanning of the resolution, he notes, has also bed manufacturer in Brazil; the others helped educate the populace about the were illegal,” he pointed out. “There dangers of UV radiation and encour-were no reports of mass layoffs. The aged measures of photoprotection measure had a zero impact on the (UV protection). “People are coming economy, but an important positive to understand that Anvisa is not effect on public health.” limiting their individual liberties, but Between December 2009 and ensuring their right to health. Any December 2010, tanning companies, benefit associated with tanning bed associations and unions filed over 20 use is a myth. The only thing indoor lawsuits against Anvisa. The indoor tanning promises is the increased risk tanning ban’s opponents obtained an of a potentially fatal disease — a risk injunction to suspend the ban tem-a person will face the rest of his or porarily while the courts considered her life.“ the cases. HEALTH IS WORTH MORE THAN MONEY References available on p.73. Fortunately, Anvisa was able to con-JULIA GARCEZ is Communications Manager vince the courts that “the health of of the Brazilian Society of Dermatological Brazil’s citizens in this case overrides Surgery, based in São Paulo. NE W S FR O M THE INTE R N A T I O N A L A D V I S O R Y C O U N C I L

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