By Dr. Mercola
California Governor Jerry Brown has been on a rampage this month passing controversial bills that on the surface may seem to be about protecting public health, but in reality are chipping away at Californians’ health freedoms. It appears he is trying to earn the award for “Most Dangerous Politician in the Country.” The three bills Governor Brown has signed (or vetoed) are the following:
- A bill banning anyone under age 18 from using tanning beds The legislation is designed to “improve the health and well-being of Californians,” but this statement is based on the seriously flawed assumption that tanning beds are contributing to the rising epidemic of skin cancer.
- A bill that will permit children as young as 12 years to be vaccinated with sexually transmitted disease vaccines like Gardasil, without parental knowledge or parental consent (AB 499).
If you live in California, school or medical personnel will be allowed to vaccinate your child against an STD without your ever knowing it.
- Governor Brown vetoed a bill that would have required California physicians to inform you when a mammography revealed you have dense breast tissue (SB 791). Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer, including the most aggressive kind.
All three of these decisions reflect, unfortunately, the Governor’s dangerous and misguided stance on health issues, to say nothing of his lack of respect for Californians’ freedom of choice about their healthcare. Let’s take a look at each of these controversial bills, one at a time.
The Truth about Tanning and Skin Cancer
Wrapping your mind around the fact that safe sun exposure is your friend — not your enemy — may take a little doing because public health agencies have been scaring Americans out of the sun for decades now. But the truth of the matter is, lack of exposure to ultraviolet light sunlight) is a major risk factor for skin cancer, and using a safe tanning bed is a desirable and completely appropriate alternative when sun exposure is not an option. Unfortunately, minors in California will no longer have this option, unless their parents have a safe tanning bed. But as generations of people have been shunning the sun and slathering every inch of exposed skin with sunscreen when they do go outdoors, the incidence of skin cancer has been on the rise. This is a red flag that something is amiss with what public health agencies have been advising, because after all those sun warnings, skin cancer is now at epidemic levels. The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States each year is higher than all other cancers combined, having However, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, may NOT be on the rise, contrary to what you’ve hear A found that the incidence of stage two, stage three, and stage four melanoma has not increased over the last couple of decades. Only stage one melanoma cases have “increased,” not because there is more melanoma showing up, but simply because what pathologists used to label as benign skin lesions are now being called “stage one melanoma” as a toosh-covering maneuver by the medical industry, in an effort to prevent lawsuits. So, the number of melanoma cases has not increased—but the number of diagnoses has. Melanoma accounts for only 5 percent of newly diagnosed skin cancers each year. Melanoma is actually more common in people who work indoors than in those who work outdoors. And melanoma most commonly appears on parts of the body that are not regularly exposed to the sun—it rarely occurs on your head or face. People who receive regular exposure to outdoor sunlight get fewer melanomas, so it makes no sense to say that ultraviolet light causes melanoma.
Widespread Vitamin D Deficiency May Help Explain the Cancer Epidemic
What’s really going on in is that, largely due to shunning the sun, the vast majority of Americans are now vitamin D deficient, which means they are missing out on this vitamin’s cancer-preventive properties and increasing their risk of cancer, including skin cancer. Even sunny Californians are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. The discovered that more than 67 percent of Northern Californians have insufficient levels of vitamin D. In reality, the problem is far worse because they used outdated criteria to define vitamin D “deficiency.” According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a large number of diseases, including:
- Many cancers, including skin cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Asthma (especially in children)
- Psychiatric and neurological diseases
A study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30 percent of cancer deaths — which amounts to — could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight is the optimal way to maintain therapeutic blood levels of vitamin D. So while it is true that excessive UVB and UVA exposure will increase your risk of skin cancer and result in some loss of lives, it is even more relevant for health and longevity to understand that inappropriate avoidance of the sun will result in diminished vitamin D levels, which will result in HUNDREDS of times more deaths. For every person that dies from sun exposure there are hundreds more that die from cancer and heart disease from not getting enough sun exposure and vitamin D. Several studies have confirmed that appropriate sun exposure actually helps prevent skin cancer, and there are over in lowering your overall cancer risk. You should stay out in the sun just long enough that your skin turns the very lightest shade of pink. The length of time this takes depends on your skin type, of course, and you never want to let yourself burn. It is the burning of your skin and chronic excessive exposures — not the limited, sensible exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight — that increases your risk for skin cancer. For optimal benefit, strive to have at least 40 percent of your skin uncovered. And for an extra measure of protection from sunburn, consider taking astaxanthin, which is a natural “internal sunscreen.” If you can’t get natural sun exposure, then a SAFE tanning bed is the next best option. But how do you know if your tanning bed is safe?
The Type of Tanning Bed Matters
You can use a tanning bed to stimulate your skin to make vitamin D, but you should only use Here are a couple of factors to keep in mind:
- The Tanning Device Should Have Electronic BallastsMany commercial tanning beds use magnetic ballasts to generate the light, and these create significant electromagnetic fields (EMFs), so it’s important to keep your exposures as low as possible. If you hear a loud buzzing noise while in a tanning bed, it has a magnetic ballast system. Newer tanning beds will use electronic ballasts instead of the older magnetic ones, and this change will virtually eliminate the EMF risk.
- UVA Bulb PercentageNormal sunshine has about 95 percent UVA and five percent UVB.Safe tanning bed bulbs produce less of the cancer causing and damaging UVA as they output less than the sun at 90 percent UVA and ten percent UVB, or double the beneficial rays that your body uses to produce vitamin D and vitamin D sulfate.
Contrary to popular belief, calling a tan “skin damage” is misleading, because tanning is your body’s natural protection against sunburn; it’s what your body was created to do. Tanning devices can be used safely and effectively, provided you adhere to the basic safety guidelines.
Make Sure Your Vitamin D Levels are Optimized to Prevent Skin Cancer
If regular sun exposure is not available and you don’t have access to a safe indoor tanning device, then your next option is taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement.
- Researchers have found adults need daily vitamin D intakes in the neighborhood of 8,000 IU to achieve therapeutic blood levels.
California Deals a MAJOR Blow to Parental Freedom
It’s ironic that California teens will no longer have access to safe tanning beds, even with their parents’ permission, but they will be able to get vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease, even if they’re only 12 years old. And they Thanks once again to Governor Jerry Brown, who bowed to pressure from the pharmaceutical lobby, the state of California , which will permit school or medical personnel to vaccinate your child against an STD without your ever knowing it! As Dawn Richardson, director of advocacy for the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), :
“Governor Brown’s signing of this legislation signals a negative trend in state public health policy making. Big Pharma has been working behind the scenes in California, Washington and other states to take away parental rights and vaccine exemptions … Under federal law, parents are supposed to get vaccine information before their children are vaccinated to help minimize risks and this new California law raises, rather than reduces, vaccine risks for children.”
Pharmaceutical and medical lobbyists were heavily involved in pushing AB 499 through the state legislature. After all, by stripping parents of their right to make informed decisions about medical procedures that could harm their children, they have tapped a new market for their Gardasil vaccine. At a cost to the government of $108 per dose, Merck, the vaccine’s manufacturer, stands to profit handsomely. Meanwhile, California taxpayers will likely foot the bill for the multi-millions of dollars this law will cost to implement. Parents are NOT responsible for the costs (how could they be if they’re not even informed that a vaccine was given?), so the bulk will come from the government (which means YOU, the taxpayer). But even more importantly, AB 499 removes your right to informed consent for a medical procedure involving your child. If you are not even informed your child has HAD a vaccine, you won’t know when to be on the lookout for dangerous reactions. has had thousands of reported adverse effects, ranging from blood clots to cardiac arrests and strokes, sometimes resulting in permanent disability or death. Governor Brown has now taken this right away from Californians.
- As Barbara Loe Fisher of the has said, is a human right:
“The right to voluntary, informed consent to a medical intervention, including use of a pharmaceutical product such as a vaccine that can injure or kill you or your child, is a human right.