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New Englanders Reminded that Skin Cancer is Most Common, and Most Preventable Cancer in U.S. - Sun Safety Tips for 'Don’t Fry Day': May 25, 2012

Release Date: 05/24/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 24, 2012) – With the traditional Memorial Day kick off to summertime activities, EPA is reminding New England citizens and visitors about simple steps to take to protect their skin from too much sun exposure.

This year EPA has teamed up with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and National Park Service to emphasize the dangers of skin cancer.  The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designated the Friday before Memorial Day “Don’t Fry Day” as a way to highlight sun safety.

“Here in New England, we spend many long months looking forward to summer and the great outdoor activities we can enjoy with good weather.  But we have to remember to take care of ourselves to help prevent skin cancer, by practicing simple sun safety steps for ourselves and our families,”  said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. “EPA’s SunWise program and Don't Fry Day help teach children and families simple steps to stay safe in the sun and protect themselves from harmful UV rays.”

Here are some tips to help Americans continue to exercise, get outside and be SunWise this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer:

Check the UV Index app: Check the ultraviolet (UV) index anytime by downloading EPA's app (epa.gov/enviro/mobile) to help plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. UV rays from the sun (and from artificial light sources such as tanning beds) can lead to skin cancer.

Apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing: Apply a palm-full of sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to exposed skin about 15 minutes before heading outdoors. Reapply every two hours. Wearing protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses also prevents sun damage.

Seek shade, not sun: The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so seek shade during this time.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and the most common cancer among 20 to 30 year-olds. It's estimated that one American dies every hour from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Approximately 76,000 new cases of melanoma will occur this year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration strongly recommends that consumers regularly use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher in combination with other protective measures to more effectively protect themselves and their families whenever they are in the sun.

Although less common in individuals with darker complexions, skin cancer does not discriminate and is more often fatal for individuals with darker skin. Overexposure to the sun also causes immune suppression and up to 90 percent of wrinkles, brown spots, leathering of the skin and sagging.

To help protect people's health, EPA’s SunWise program, one of the nation's largest environmental and health education programs, encourages kids and their caregivers to practice safe sun habits and raises awareness about UV sunlight that penetrates the Earth's ozone layer.

EPA's SunWise program offers factsheets online that have state-specific information (epa.gov/sunwise/statefacts.html). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vermont is one of the seven states with the highest melanoma death rates.  The other states are Nebraska, Colorado, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Idaho.

More on SunWise: http://www.epa.gov/sunwise

More on FDA sun safety: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm258416.htm

More on CDC skin cancer prevention efforts: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/

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