What's Growing in Your Tanning Bed? 

What's Growing in Your Tanning Bed?

TOLEDO -- Nowadays. people are in hot pursuit of that perfect. golden tan. They say it makes you look good and feel good. And if they're not outside. soaking up the sun. women and many men are tanning. indoors. So what's the problem? They may be sun bathing in a festival of germs.
"I go tanning to prevent being burned from the sun most often." said Audrey Berenstein. "I go (tanning) mostly because of acne. Even in the winter months. pasty white is no good." said Mick Trzcinski. Berenstein and Trzcinski--both nursing students--said they slip into a tanning bed once a week.
But how clean and safe are they from coming in contact with bacteria and germs? News 11 went inside four local tanning salons. Tanlines in Oregon. Aloha Tanning in Perrysburg. Sun Goddess in Sylvania. and Tan Pro Mega Tanning in Toledo. With a hidden camera. we did some investigating.
After sterilizing her hands. our tester slipped into a pair of gloves and took several samples at each location. After sealing them. she wiped down the beds. The samples were then taken to a local lab to be analyzed. News 11 found bacteria; the organisms gave off a foul odor.
The microbiologist handling our samples said it shows the salons we tested are doing a poor job of cleaning. "If properly disinfected. the sampling sites should have contained very little to zero bacteria. Based on the level of bacteria recovered. the surfaces were not properly disinfected." said the microbiologist.
Dr. Haig Donabedian. an infectious disease doctor with the Medical University of Ohio. agreed. "They probably haven't been cleaned as they would like so that doesn't surprise me." said Donabedian. He said bacteria is everywhere. but if tanning salons are following the rules under the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology. the signifcant amount of bacteria we found is too much.
Under "Tanning Rules." the board's website says. "No article or equipment shall be used or offered for use by a patron unless that article has first been sanitized with a viricidally (destroys viruses) effective product."
Lee Ann Nearhood with Miracle Salon and Spa in Temperance. MI explained how they clean. "When somebody leaves. we come in and we spray the top shields and the body shields of the acrylic and we let it sit for about a minute." said Nearhood.
Once our results were in. News 11 went back to the salons we tested. looking for answers. An employee with Tan Pro in Toledo stressed that their facility is sanitary. She also said. "I believe no matter where you go. you're going to find a lot of bacteria. Every place is dirty. You touch a handle. your hand is going to have bacteria." Tan Pro owners said they clean their beds after every use. even tear down equipment for a thorough. detailed cleaning.
News 11 tried to talk to an employee at Sun Goddess Tanning in Slyvania. She said. "do you clean in between each session?" The employee answered. would you please leave?" State inspection reports show the Sylvania location had "no violations."
By phone. News 11 talked with an employee at Tanlines in Oregon about the bacteria we found there. She said "oh yeah. Okay. "does that surprise you?" The employee answered. "and why does that surprise you? actually it doesn't. Well. we clean every time somebody's done tanning." Board of Cosmetology records show Tanlines went under new ownership in February and hasn't had any recent inspections.
Our tester also found a towel in a bed at Aloha Tanning in Perrysburg. An employee told us. "I am actually surprised at that. because I know that we thoroughly clean each room." Inspections indicate they received a verbal warning last year for having no viricidally effective solution in the entire facility.
Tanning bed users are generally healthy. young people who resistant to infections. That may be why. according to Dr. Donabedian. the risk of catching an illness from a tanning bed is low. However. he said if they're not being cleaned effectively. be careful what you touch. "If I had really bad acne or if I had breaks in the skin then I would certainly consider the wisdom of using such public conveyances." said Donabedian.
Knowing a significant amount of bacteria exists at area tanning salons. would you think twice about climbing into a tanning bed? "I'll probably go spray tanning. Spray tanning or the standup tanning.000 licensed tanning salons. and hair and nail salons across Ohio. and in northwest Ohio. about 1200. The Board of Cosmetology says one person is responsible for inspecting those 1200 locations. twice a year.
The board's executive director. said it's more of a preventative inspection. and that they look to see if the facility is clean by the eye only.
Count on News 11 for a followup. The bacteria we found at local tanning salons is currently being tested. Soon. we'll be able to identify the bacteria and let you know.

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