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08 Dec 2020


Health & Consumers

Brussels, 03.12.2020 - The tragic events of 2020 have put a spotlight on the inherent dangers of so-called ‘health advice’ advocating sun avoidance. The European Sunlight Association (ESA) believes promoting sun-avoidance is actually contributing to ill-health amongst the European adult population and is an inhibiting factor in the fight against COVID-19. It is calling for national government health agencies, policy-makers and regulators to consider the over-whelming scientific evidence that supports the health benefits of regular, moderate sun-exposure as the most natural, efficient and effective way for our bodies to synthesise vitamin D.

A recently published study¹ found lower COVID-19 mortality rates in countries with more sunshine closer to the equator. As predicted by the scientific community, the second wave of the current coronavirus pandemic, began to hit most European countries by the end of September, early October. It is no coincidence that the increase of COVID-19 cases correlates to the end of summer and reduction in sun exposure. This adds to the mounting wave of evidence that sunlight could play a natural and crucial role in limiting the impact of the pandemic.

Vitamin D is further known to support the immune system and has anti-viral properties, both of which help in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. Another recent study has shown Vitamin D statistically reduces the risk of developing an acute respiratory infection by 42%².

ESA’s Scientific Advisor, Torben Koenig said “The relationship between moderate sunlight exposure and its role in the health of our adult populations needs acknowledging, perhaps more now than ever before, from politicians down to tanning naysayers. We urgently need a reversal of the entrenched views about responsible UV exposure and a change in the practices of those that promote sun-avoidance.”

The European Sunlight Association (ESA) is promoting safe, controlled and informed use of sunbeds in compliance with EU legislation. To ensure consumer safety, ESA is working hand in hand with the EU and Member State national authorities towards the implementation and enforcement of mandatory standards across Europe.