Have Fun in the Sun: UV Safety Month

Reader Contribution by Earthgauge.Org

What’s your favorite outdoor activity? Whether it’s swimming, hiking, boating or fishing, don’t forget to protect your skin and eyes from the sun when you head outside to enjoy long summer days. The sun emits radiation in the form of ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV radiation is 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, like water, snow and sand.

Exposure to UV can cause sunburn (ouch!), skin aging, eye damage and skin cancer – the most common form of cancer in the United States – and an estimated 76,100 U.S. residents will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2014 (See state data). But there’s good news: skin cancer and other effects of UV exposure are largely preventable.

UV Protection Tips

Tip: July is UV Safety Month, a great time to brush-up on strategies for staying safe – and having fun! – in the sun.

• Know before you go: Check the UV Index, which provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.

• Wear sunscreen: Sunscreens with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 15 and higher provide protection by preventing UV radiation from reaching your skin. Reapply every two hours and after swimming, working or exercising outside.

• 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, seek shade. Wear tightly woven clothing and a wide brimmed hat to reduce the amount of UV radiation coming into contact with your skin.

Learn more about UV safety from EPA’s SunWise program and the .

Estimated Number of New Cases of Melanoma by State

(Source: American Cancer Society)

Alabama 1,320 Louisiana 750 Oklahoma 650
Alaska 90 Maine 440 Oregon 1,440
Arizona 1,430 Maryland 1,400 Pennsylvania 3,820
Arkansas 490 Massachusetts 1,800 Rhode Island 260
California 8,440 Michigan 2,830 South Carolina 1,350
Colorado 1,400 Minnesota 1,030 South Dakota 200
Connecticut 1,090 Mississippi 560 Tennessee 1,910
Delaware 290 Missouri 1,510 Texas 3,420
District of Columbia 80 Montana 290 Utah 770
Florida 5,320 Nebraska 460 Vermont 220
Georgia 2,180 Nevada 470 Virginia 2,130
Hawaii 410 New Hampshire 400 Washington 2,410
Idaho 450 New Jersey 2,590 West Virginia 540
Illinois 2,440 New Mexico 470 Wisconsin 1,440
Indiana 1,550 New York 4,240 Wyoming 150
Iowa 980 North Carolina 2,540 United States Total 76,100
Kansas 780 North Dakota 160    
Kentucky 1,540 Ohio 3,170

(Sources: EPA SunWise Program. “Action Steps for Sun Safety.” ; “Skin Cancer Facts for Your State,” ;  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Federal Occupational Health. “What’s Your UV:IQ?” ; American Cancer Society. (2014). Cancer Facts and Figures: 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2013, from)