Thu, Jul 08, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Letters

Let HK's majority speak

Speaking through the Xinhua news agency after last Thursday's massive show of public support for democracy in Hong Kong, the Chinese government claimed that a majority of Hong Kong's people wished to "play a genuinely constructive role to maintain stability and prosperity" ("HK activism is unharmonious: Chinese official," July 3, page 1).

Beijing implied this "majority" of Hong Kong residents opposed the peaceful expression of opinion by up to 530,000 of their fellow citizens. How, I wonder, have the Chinese leaders ascertained the size and political position of this "majority"? Certainly not through any open and fair electoral process.

So, I propose that the people of Hong Kong help determine the truth about what views they have and how many have them by holding, under the careful watch of nonpartisan international observers, a non-governmental referendum on issues of democracy in the territory.

Let all adult citizens of Hong Kong be given the opportunity to say yay or nay to a series of questions regarding their future, such as whether they should have universal suffrage and the right to directly elect their leaders and representatives. The results of such voting could go a long way toward informing Hong Kong residents, the Chinese government and the rest of the world about where the real majority lies, and might well give clearer meaning to the July 1 protest slogan that Beijing found so distasteful: "Return power to the people."

Matt Nicodemus

Taipei

The truth about tanning

This letter is in response to the article by David Leffell ("Pro-tecting our skin from the enemy in the sky," July 3, page 9).

Leffell's statement that "permits are rarely required to operate a tanning parlor" could not be further from the truth. In fact, 28 states in the US not only require a license for the operation of an indoor tanning facility, they also mandate that salons in those states adhere to strict operational procedures to ensure proper and moderate exposure to tanning devices.

Additionally, tanning salons in all states must abide by extensive rules and standards enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission.

The statement "customers should eschew the bulbs and pursue the spray" tells me that Leffell is unaware that although UV tanning devices are actually regulated extensively at the federal, state and local levels, spray tanning systems using solutions containing DHA, a type of dye used in over-the-counter sunless tanning creams, may not be a prudent alternative.

The FDA has approved DHA for external use on the skin but not via a spray. According to the FDA's Linda Katz, the reason the creams have not been approved through the use of a spray is because "some of the products may get exposed to the eyes, to the nose, mucous membranes and may be inhaled."

As for tanning education, for the last 5 years I have offered an extensive training and certification course aimed at raising the knowledge and skills of tens of thousands of indoor tanning staff across the US and Canada.

I also co-ordinate and present seminars on topics that relate specifically to the facts and scientific aspects of indoor tanning.

My number-one priority is to promote the educational aspects of indoor tanning, thus enhancing the knowledge of salon owners and operators who can pass this knowledge on to the consumer. My goal is to teach sensible, moderate and responsible tanning while ad-hering to state and federal guidelines for indoor tanning. My program provides the most up-to-date information regarding UV radiation, exposure schedules, the science of tanning, state and federal regulations, the risks of overexposure and many other topics that relate to indoor tanning.

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