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Promote Vitamin D Testing for Public

Friday, January 25, 2013
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Joint Canadian Tanning Association urges Canadian Cancer Society

KELOWNA, BC –In support of the 2nd annual Tan Awareness Week June 1-8, the Joint Canadian Tanning Association (JCTA) is asking the Canadian Cancer Society to encourage Canadians to check their vitamin D blood levels, the same way it encourages skin cancer screening. The call comes in light of overwhelming evidence that reveals sun avoidance and overuse of sunscreen has caused widespread vitamin D deficiency in Canadians. Growing evidence suggests vitamin D deficiency is linked to several types of cancer. Tan Awareness Week is an educational campaign designed to encourage intelligent sun care and sunburn prevention, rather than total sun abstinence. The initiative was devised to dispel public health misinformation regarding sun exposure which has contributed to a near-universal deficiency of vitamin D among Canadians.

Often called the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is made primarily when UVB in sunlight reaches the skin. UVB in sunlight is by far the most natural and abundant source of vitamin D, and dietary supplements are unnatural surrogates for what human biology intended: regular UV exposure. The JCTA’s call for vitamin D blood testing is supported by the following: • The Canadian Cancer Society recognizes “there is growing evidence vitamin D may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, particularly colorectal and breast cancers.” • Studies continue to show up to 97 per cent of Canadians are vitamin D deficient at some point during the year. A University of Toronto study this year found 83 per cent of Canadian toddlers were vitamin D deficient. • Few Canadians know their vitamin D levels. At least 91 per cent of Canadian women don’t know their vitamin D levels, according to a 2008 IPSOS-Reid survey commissioned by vitamin D advocate Marc Sorenson. The survey also showed 77 per cent of women are not having a regular vitamin D blood test, also known as a calcidiol test. • University of Toronto vitamin D scientist Dr. Reinhold Vieth and 29 other international vitamin D scientists supporting Grassroots Health’s D*action campaign calling for vitamin D testing, recommend vitamin D blood levels of 100-150 nmol/L (40-60 ng/ml). “We are asking the Canadian Cancer Society to work in conjunction with the Canadian Dermatology Association during Sun Awareness Week June 8-14 to encourage and perform a simple blood spot test for vitamin D alongside skin cancer screenings performed that week,” says JCTA Executive Director Steve Gilroy. “We are concerned overzealous warnings regarding sun exposure and the use of sunscreen have resulted in the unintended consequence of vitamin D deficiency. An initiative encouraging vitamin D blood spot testing would go a long way to reduce this risk.” The JCTA encourages sunscreen use only when sunburn is a possibility. Aside from preventing sunburn, there is no data to support that daily use of sunscreen is necessary. “There is no direct data about the effect of sunscreens on melanoma and basal cell cancers,” according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. The World Health Organization has issued a similar statement. To learn more about Tan Awareness Week and to test your tanning knowledge and get a vitamin D blood test visit: About JCTA The Joint Canadian Tanning Association (JCTA) is a national non-profit organization created to increase understanding of the professional tanning industry’s scientifically supported position that regular moderate ultra-violet exposure from sunshine or sunbed in a non-burning fashion is part of a responsible lifestyle that recognizes both the inherent benefits and the manageable risks associated with ultraviolet light exposure. # # # Media Contact: Steve Gilroy, ATP Executive Director JCTA T: 800.915.0367 ext 101 C: 250.863.8765 E: