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Some 14 of the age-related contraventions concerned “sale of use” of a sunbed to under-18s, eight involved use of a sunbed on the premises by under-18s, and five concerned under-18s being in a restricted area at sunbed premises. There were also 10 contraventions of the prohibition on sale or hire of a sunbed to under-18s or the offer to do so.
The age restriction provisions of the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act 2014 took effect in July 2014 and the statistics released to MI were accumulated contraventions to June 2016.
In March 2015, further regulations came into force including that customers must be provided information about the health risks of sunbeds, the banning of unsubstantiated health claims, and compulsory use of protective eye wear.
Some 550 non-compliances on protected eye wear provisions have been detected, including 68 instances of protective eyewear not being available for use or purchase, while some 370 of these non-compliances concerned “protective eyewear not in accordance with standard”.
Meanwhile, there were 140 non-compliances in respect of prescribed warning signs not being displayed on sunbed outlets’ website/social media sites.
Some 919 non-compliances related to section 15 of the Act on provision of health information, with the biggest number (247) involving the prescribed health information not being provided.
Thirteen test purchases were conducted by persons aged 15-17 years with two purchases being non-compliant. These were conducted by two volunteer minors who received a voucher of nominal value to acknowledge their participation, according to the HSE. The test purchase guidelines were issued in August 2015.
Non-compliances have resulted in written/verbal warnings, states the information supplied to MI under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.
As of June, there were 591 sunbed premises on the HSE’s national database.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that the risk of cutaneous melanoma is increased by 75 per cent when the use of sunbeds starts before 30 years of age.
The HSE noted that the sunbed industry was not previously regulated before introduction of legislation and regulations. It was expected that there would be contraventions identified in initial inspections that would be followed up by the HSE Environmental Health Service, stated the Executive.