Spectral irradiances of 100 commercially available sunbeds in current use have been measured. Ultraviolet (UV) A and UVB doses from sunbed use have been calculated and compared with doses likely to be received from solar radiation. The majority of sunbeds use UVA fluorescent tubes for irradiating the body and filtered metal halide lamps, which have a higher proportion of UVA1, for the face. The average minimum erythemal dose per session is 0.80, but irradiances for particular models varied by a factor of two to three primarily because of decline in lamp output with age. The UVA dose from a session on a sunbed is similar to that which might be received from 20 to 30 min sunbathing at a Mediterranean resort or 1 h on a sunny day in Glasgow, while UVB doses are 20-25% of this level. Responses from 200 current users of the sunbeds indicate that 38% had skin types 1 and 2, that 17% had more than 100 annual sunbed sessions and that 35% rarely or never used the goggles provided.