Victoria's leading modelling agencies have committed to a 'No Sunbed' policy in a groundbreaking move that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of solarium use and show support for an outright ban of sunbeds in this state.
The pledge is similar to one undertaken by London's modelling agencies during the 2012 London Fashion Week and comes after the recent commitment by the New South Wales government to ban solariums by 2014.
Leading agencies, Chadwick, Giant, London, Scene and Viviens have all agreed to a zero tolerance policy on sunbed use for existing and new models ahead of this year's L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.
The fashion industry had been advising models to have spray tans for several years but this commitment from the agencies will ensure that any client requesting a model with tanned skin will only be supplied with a model with a spray tan.
All models in the agencies will be informed of the no sunbed policy and those found to be using sunbeds will be counselled on the dangers of sunbeds. Some agencies will consider stopping agency representation altogether if models continue to use solariums.
Sue Heward, SunSmart Manager, said: "We're delighted that leading modelling agencies are supporting a 'No Sunbed' policy for their models; protecting them from the very real dangers associated with solarium use."
Research shows that using a sunbed before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%. A recent study estimated that one in six melanomas in Australian young people aged 18 to 29 years would be prevented if solariums were shut down.
"They are dangerous, unnecessary, outdated and irrefutably linked to cancer. We call for a ban in Victoria and nationally, not just in New South Wales."
"Not only is solarium use harmful to your health, but it can prematurely age the skin making it coarse, pigmented, leathery and wrinkled. It is suggested that 80% of wrinkles are due to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from either the sun or solariums."
Matthew Anderson, Director of Chadwick Models said: "Chadwick has actively discouraged the use of sunbeds for many years and are glad to join forces with SunSmart to now support an official 'No Sunbed' policy. We hope this will help send a strong message to the general public about the dangers of sunbeds."
Tina Barrett, Bookings Director at Giant Management commented: "We are honoured to support the 'No Sunbed' policy, as the health and wellbeing of our models is of the highest importance. We do not promote or condone the use of solariums for any of our models and if they require tanned skin for a job, we will always recommend a spray tan instead. At Giant, we believe that there is nothing healthy about a tan and it's never too late for prevention."
It has been estimated that each year in Victoria, 51 new melanomas, 7 deaths and 294 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are attributed to solarium use.
Today, 475 tanning beds still operate in Victoria; twice as many as in New South Wales, despite a 65% drop in the number of solarium venues since the introduction of legislation in 2008.
Ms Heward said: "Cancer Council Victoria is imploring the Victorian government to ban solariums outright, once and for all, so the young, impressionable people in our society are protected."