A leading Irish American has called for young Irish dancers to be banned from wearing fake tan because he believes it can cause cancer.
Denis McCarthy is president of the Co Cork Association in New York. He says that aside from the risk of cancer, fake tan also sends a dangerous message to impressionable youngsters that suggests that their skin colour is inadequate.
The governing body for Irish dancing recently revealed there would be a ban on children under 10 wearing makeup or false eye lashes. However it didn’t ban fake tan despite the fact that the US State of New Jersey has recently introduced a law that bans all minors under the age of 14 from getting spray tans and all minors under the age of 17 from using commercial UV sunbeds.
McCarthy has two daughters who are Irish dancers. He doesn’t think that the Irish Dancing governing body has gone far enough to protect the young girls.
He said: “Since, September of 2012, I have endeavoured to bring to light the ridiculous and unsafe practice of tanning/ bronzing girls and young women in Irish dance.
“As a father, I love Irish dance because it encourages confidence, commitment, independence, organization, integrity, practice/ self-discipline, ambition, school/ ceili team spirit, sportswomanship, learning defeat, accomplishment, joy, creativity, love of an ancient art form and culture, and my daughters love for it.
“In light of the recent information linking fake tan with cancer, potentially causing “mutagenic” effects on adolescent girls’ reproductive systems – this recent ruling, nor the previous 2005 ruling that mysteriously disappeared from the Coimisiún for the last nine years doesn’t go far enough!
“It is unfortunate that most parents are extremely opposed to this practice, as it sends the wrong message to young women; that the colour of their skin (Irish descent) is not good enough – yet the majority are afraid to speak up because the propagators of these (Irish spray tan companies) hold influential positions in the NAFC and IDTANA, resembling a “quid pro quo” scandal of support…all at the expense of our children’s health and innocence.”
Irish dancing has become increasingly popular in the US. However, it has come in for criticism for the way the young children are encouraged to dress older than their age. This led to the ban on makeup and fake eyelashes.