To review the health effects of solar radiation, sunbeds and vitamin D.
The literature was searched in the electronic database MEDLINE to indentify published data between 1981 and 2011. Studies were included if they reported relative risk for cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) associated with sunbed use, vitamin D and UV effects on human health.
Data from different time periods for populations at different latitudes.
Persons of different ages and ethnic groups.
UV from sun and sunbeds is the main vitamin D source. Young people with white or pigmented skin in northern Europe have a low vitamin D status. A number of health benefits from sufficient levels of vitamin D have been identified. However, UV exposure has been suspected of causing skin cancer, notably CMM, and authorities warn against it.
The overall health benefit of an improved vitamin D status may be more important than the possibly increased CMM risk resulting from carefully increasing UV exposure. Important scientific facts behind this judgement are given.
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