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Cobb County is SunWise, Are You?

Release Date: 05/07/2008
Contact Information: Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov


County promotes sun safety and skin cancer prevention to become SunWise Community

(Atlanta, Ga. - May 7, 2008) – In an effort to encourage County residents to adopt sun-safe behaviors, Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairman Sam Olens proclaimed today SunWise Day in Cobb County. This proclamation is part of Cobb County’s participation in SunWise Communities, a program developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that extends sun safety education through school- and community-based programs. The announcement also coincides with both National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Prevention Month in May and National Physical Education and Sport Week.

“With substantially more than one million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually, I hope more communities will follow Cobb County’s lead and become SunWise Communities,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator. “EPA is proud to partner with Cobb County and Wellstar Health System to educate adults and children alike about the dangers of UV rays and the benefits of sun-safe behavior. EPA’s SunWise Program will help Cobb County families live sun-safe, healthy lives.”

As part of Board of Commissioners Chairman Olen’s proclamation, Cobb County has distributed sun safety activity kits to schools so they can participate in SunWise Schools, a program designed to teach children about the dangers of overexposure to the sun and equip them with the skills to protect themselves. By using the program’s SunWise Tool Kit, students learn about sun-safe activities, such as wearing sunscreen, seeking shade during midday hours, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and other actions that can significantly reduce their lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. The county plans to promote sun safety throughout the summer and fall as well.

“Becoming a SunWise Community and fighting skin cancer fits perfectly into our commitment to promoting health and wellness in Cobb County,” said Olens. “Since melanoma rates in Cobb County are 50 percent above the national average, teaching our children to be sunwise is essential if we want to prevent unnecessary human suffering.”

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and will be diagnosed in substantially more than one million Americans in 2008 alone. There are more new cases of skin cancer each year than the number of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer cases combined. In 2008, the American Cancer Society estimates that 62,480 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most often lethal form of skin cancer, and more than 8,400 will die from the disease. That averages out to one American dying from melanoma every 62 minutes. The number one preventable risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Today, Cobb County Superintendent Fred Sanderson, representatives from EPA and Wellstar, and melanoma survivor Marilyn Fry will teach children in the third-grade class of Harmony Leland Elementary School in Mableton about the importance of sun protection. In addition, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and Congressman David Scott’s office, were all invited to the event. These individuals will join together to encourage Cobb County residents to incorporate sun-safe behaviors into their daily activities.

About SunWise
The SunWise Program is an environmental and health education program that aims to teach children and their families how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun through the use of classroom-, school-, and community-based components. SunWise is the most widely used health education program in the U.S., with over 24,000 educators signed up to use the program.

For more information about SunWise, visit www.epa.gov/sunwise or email sunwise@epa.gov.