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Wed 25 Jun 2008 02:12 PM

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Iran bans sunbeds over health concerns

Use and import of sunbeds bannned over fears about radiation levels in public and work places.

Iran's Health Ministry has banned the use and import of sunbeds on health grounds and warned image-conscious Iranians against the hazards of seeking such tans, the state broadcaster reported on Wednesday.

"The health officials... warned against the hazards of using sunbeds and announced a ban on using this equipment," the website of state broadcasting reported.

It quoted a Health Ministry statement as saying that officials would carry out inspections of beauty salons, hotels and health clubs that offer solariums to seal the equipment and refer the owners to the judiciary.

Health officials were concerned about radiation levels in public and work places, it said.

"In coordination with the radiation protection department of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization and the commerce ministry, the health ministry has blocked the import of such equipment to the country," it said.

The ministry has also urged citizens to report to the authorities any businesses offering sunbeds.

Sunbeds have become popular in Iran in recent years with many fashion-conscious women - unabashed by strict dress rules - sporting tans acquired in a beauty parlour or the beach.

Tehran's strictly segregated open air swimming pools are also crowded by young women basking in the sun in summer.

The country over the past year has seen its strictest clampdown in years on dress and behaviour deemed to be un-Islamic, with tens of thousands of women warned over their appearance.

But health organisations around the world also warn against the dangers of using sunbeds, saying excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

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