The sun emits radiation in the form of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation is at its highest when and where the sun’s rays are the strongest. This means that UV levels will be highest around noon on a clear sunny day, as well as during the summer months. UV levels will also be highest near surfaces that reflect sunlight, such as water, snow and sand. Exposure to UV can cause sunburn, skin aging, skin cancer and eye damage. While skin cancer is largely preventable, it is the most common form of cancer in the United States – over 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. (See state-by-state statistics about skin cancer from EPA.)
Viewer Tip: July is UV Safety Month. Stay safe in the sun with these tips:
- Wear sunscreen: Sunscreens with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 and above provide protection by preventing UV radiation from reaching your skin.
- Wear sunglasses: Protect your eyes with sunglasses that have 100 percent UV protection. Check the label for the protection level.
- Work and play in the shade: When you are outside, wear tightly woven clothing and a wide brimmed hat to reduce the amount of UV radiation coming into contact with your skin. Remember that pets need shade, too.
Before you head outside, check the UV Index at www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html.
(Sources: EPA SunWise Program. “Action Steps for Sun Safety.” http://epa.gov/sunwise/actionsteps.html; “Skin Cancer Facts for Your State,” http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/statefacts.html)