Submitted by Sheldon Rampton on
A review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggested that tanning at the beach or an indoor tanning booth can help avoid the dangers of vitamin D deficiency. However, the NEJM didn't disclose that the article's author, Michael Holick, has received more than $150,000 in research funding from the artificial tanning industry. Martin Weinstock, a dermatologist at Brown University and an expert on the link between tanning beds and skin cancer, says he informed NEJM Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Drazen about Holick’s industry connections prior to the article's publication, adding that "the quality of evidence" behind Holick's recommendations was "poor." The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) has also hired Berman & Co., a notorious Washington, D.C. PR firm, to develop what ITA called "an aggressive media relations and public relations campaign." Berman, who has created numerous web-based front groups for the food, alcohol and tobacco industries, created a new site called SunlightScam.com. He's also running advertisements that attack medical groups, calling the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology part of the "sunscam industry" and dismissing as "hype" their warnings of the link between tanning and melanoma.