Questionable Study Claims Sunbathing Causes More Deaths than Car Accidents
Are automobiles really as dangerous as many people think they are–or is the sun a far more sinister threat than any man-made vehicle?
According to a new study, sunbathing apparently claims thousands more lives than car accidents do every year around the world. Because the number of deaths officially attributed to skin cancer exceeds the number of reported deaths caused by auto accidents every year, the study claims that your chances of dying from skin cancer are higher than dying in a traffic accident. This conclusion was reached by comparing the number of deaths attributed annually to melanoma to the number of traffic accident-related deaths in a dozen countries.
Could Sunbathing Be More Dangerous than Riding in a Car?
This interesting study compared the total number of melanoma deaths (taken from Cancer Research UK) to road traffic fatalities (taken from Gov.uk) in multiple countries. The nation with the highest likelihood of dying of skin cancer compared to traffic accidents was Australia, followed by Spain, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
“Regardless the exact ratio, it is evident that skin cancer is a very relevant cause of death,” the research concluded. “If you reflect at the mere numbers, you feel that when compared to traffic safety, skin safety is treated absolutely dis-proportionally in our daily lives.”
However, skeptics will be quick to point out multiple concerns with this study. First, these comparisons aren’t applicable to every country. The United States and Portugal reported three times more automobile accidents than melanoma-related deaths. Second, see who published this study: spray tan company AURA. Could there perhaps be a hidden agenda here to persuade people to use spray tans over tanning beds? Certainly not!
While it’s important to keep your skin covered and use sunscreen when you’re outside, it’s questionable to assert there’s a comparison to be made here.
Tim Shults likes to play golf and spend time with his four daughters.