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4. At one point, Mercola sold tanning beds – and in fact claimed they reduced cancer risks – although doctors have long warned against indoor tanning, citing the cancer risk of the skin.
In 2016, the Tribune reported that he had sold tanning beds at a price of $ 1,200 to $ 4,000 from his Hoffman Estates-based business and “claimed that cold winters in the Midwest meant residents of Chicago, in particular, would benefit from its tanning beds, which he said could “reverse your wrinkles” and “lower your risk of cancer.”
A Federal Trade Commission lawsuit debunked these claims and in a settlement, Mercola agreed to reimburse customers up to $ 5.3 million and promised not to sell any more tanning beds.
“These types of false claims are particularly troubling because of the serious health risks posed by indoor tanning,” the director of the FTC’s consumer protection office said in a press release. “The point is, indoor tanning is not safe because it increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.”
A 2017 press release says the agency sent refunds totaling $ 2.59 million to more than 1,300 customers who purchased Mercola indoor tanning systems.
Mercola had told the Tribune that he had settled the case only as “a business decision” and had maintained his claims. He added that he had recently moved from the Chicago area – where he once resided in a South Barrington mansion – to Florida “because of his belief in the benefits of the sun,” the Tribune reported.