Skin cancer in NZ by Susan Grimsdell
We all know that skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in New Zealand, and that we have the highest incidence of melanoma – the worst, most deadly kind of cancer – in the whole world. We slip slap slop on ourselves and our children, we use the top level of SPF, renewing it every two or three hours, as per instructions. We do our best to protect ourselves and our families.
However, what we didn’t know was that there is a man in the USA, Gabriel Letizia Jr, who has become very wealthy over a period of 30 years, by consistently defrauding us and all his other customers. He’s the owner and director of AMA Laboratories, that tests consumer products including sunscreens. The results of his tests have been taken on faith worldwide.
But it has now been revealed that over all those years he, along with senior staff, has been falsifying the results of those tests. When you thought you were buying an SPF 50 suncream, it wasn’t SPF 50 at all. Who knows what it really was, but somehow I suspect that our incredibly high rate of skin cancer is evidence that it was probably very much less than that. For all we know, there was no sun protection in it at all – perhaps it was no better than cold cream or baby oil.
Crime and punishment
This man has pleaded guilty to his years of deception and faces up to 7 years in prison. The $63 million he gained by this fraud will help him hire the best lawyers to make sure he will in fact avoid prison with appeals and other legal manoeuvres for many years to come, while enjoying life, out on bail, in his comfortable mansions.
Meanwhile we and, of course, people in countries worldwide continue to suffer the effects of skin cancer on ourselves and our children.