WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), joined by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, recognized the Friday before Memorial Day as the 14th annual “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage Americans to protect their skin and eye health while enjoying the outdoors. One simple step is to download and use EPA’s free Ultraviolet (UV) Index app, which provides daily and hourly UV intensity forecasts by location and provides recommendations on how to be safe in the sun, in both English and Spanish.
“UV radiation impacts all people, which is why it is so important to apply sunscreen and check EPA’s free UV Index smartphone app before heading out in the sun,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “While skin cancer is less prevalent in people with darker complexions, when it is diagnosed, it tends to be at a later stage and the survival rate is much lower for individuals of color. On Don’t Fry Day, we spotlight the UV Index, which can help all people prevent overexposure to UV radiation by providing simple tips to stay safe while enjoying time outdoors.”
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 99,000 new cases of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, will occur in 2022 as a result of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. This is roughly 6,000 fewer estimated cases than in 2021.
EPA, the National Weather Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work together to make the UV Index forecast available in the United States. EPA’s UV Index app (search for EPA’s UV Index in the Apple App Store and on Google Play) lets you know the strength of the sun’s skin cancer-causing UV rays. The convenient app gives daily and hourly UV intensity forecasts for your location, provides recommendations on sun safety, and is useable in both Spanish and English.
Though all people are equally at risk of eye damage and developing cataracts, some may be at greater risk of contracting skin cancer depending on the color of their skin, a history of blistering sunburns in early childhood, the presence of many moles, or a family history of skin cancer. Also, be aware that the UV Index may be high throughout the year depending on factors such as location, elevation, and reflective surfaces such as water, sand, and snow. Reduce risk of skin cancer and eye damage by:
- Seeking shade when outside during mid-day hours when UV exposure is highest;
- Wearing clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wraparound sunglasses that protects our skin and eyes from UV rays;
- Generously applying SPF 15+ sunscreen, and reapplying often;
- Being aware that reflective water, snow, and sand intensify UV exposure;
- Avoiding tanning beds and minimizing sunbathing, and;
- Checking the UV Index.
Be sure to get the UV Index app on your smartphone, sign up for a daily UV Index forecast via email, or check the UV Index online daily at https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety.
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Author: Air and Radiation (OAR)