Product Liability

Chemical in spray tanners may put users at risk for cancer

Spray tan Chemical in spray tanners may put users at risk for cancerSpray tans are considered to be a safer way to get the look of a suntan without damaging the skin or risking skin cancer, but a new report suggests the chemicals found in spray tans may be dangerous as well.

Six medical experts in the fields of dermatology, toxicology and pulmonary medicine are speaking out about the potential dangers of a chemical commonly found in spray-on tanners – dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. ABC News pulled together the panel of medical experts to review 10 of the most publicly available studies on DHA. While none of the studies were conducted on humans, panel members said the information they reviewed was enough to raise concerns.

Some studies suggest that DHA may lead to genetic alternations and DNA damage. If it gets into the bloodstream, say, by inhalation or ingestion during spraying, the tanning agents could promote the development of some cancers or malignancies.

DHA was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1977 for external use only as a tanning agent in lotions. Early tanning lotions never took off because users looked more orange than tan. Through the years, manufacturers have been able to improve the color tanners provide, which has created a boom in the self tanner business.

Newer spray applications offered a more even tan appearance with less mess, which helped boost the sale of tanners.

The FDA told ABC News that it never envisioned in 1977 that the tanning lotions would be made into a sprayed-on product and that there would be the danger that the sprays could be inhaled or ingested. The agency said that use of DHA in tanning booths as an all-over spray is not an approved use since it has not been established as safe.

The FDA is cautioning consumers that spray-on tans have not been deemed safe and that people who use them are not protected against unapproved uses of the product. The panel of medical experts say that the findings suggest that more research need to be done to better determine the extent of the damage spray tanners can cause humans.

Source: ABC News