United States
Environmental Protection
Air and Radiation
April 2001
                                           An Update on EPA's SunWise School Program
A   Ray   of    m
Li«jkf   i*    Ohio
        hat do you get when you cross a devoted group
        of doctors, a medical support group, and a
      F ready-to-use educational program called
SunWise? In Montgomery County, Ohio, you get RAYS
(Raising Awareness About Your Skin), an active volun-
teer committee that educates students throughout the
county about the dangers of ultraviolet radiation. The
committee has reached more than 8,500 students in 20
school districts during the past two years.
Consisting of more than 32 dermatologists, plastic sur-
geons, internists, obstetricians, optometrists,  and neurol-
ogists, along with 25 other volunteers, the committee
                          arranges assemblies and
                          classroom presentations in
                          middle and high schools
                          throughout the year.
                          Volunteers use SunWise
                          lesson plans and a capti-
                          vating slide presentation
                           to teach students about
                           the early signs of skin
                           cancer and what risky
                           behaviors to avoid. In
                           addition, volunteers pro-
                           vide SunWise materials
                           and information to
                           schools and  encourage
                            teachers and administra-
                          tors to join the SunWise program. The committees efforts
                          have been tremendously successful.
                          "Not only have we been on the news three or four times,
                          but we've reached an incredible number of students, and
                          we have also discovered several teachers with skin can-
                          cer," explained Betty Lacey a volunteer who took an entire
                          year off work to devote to this cause. "People didn't know
                          what to look for until we showed them pictures."
                          The pictures she's referring to  are a series of clinical pho-
                          tographs of skin cancer—part of the slide presentation
                          developed and used by the committee. Available on the
                          SunWise Web site at ,
                          this presentation has been successful in getting students
                          to think twice about sitting in the sun or going to a tan-
                          ning salon before a wedding or a prom, and it stimulates
                          peer pressure to keep each other safe. "The realistic shots
                          of skin cancer are extremely effective," said Lacey.
                          "Students are usually surprised by the gruesome conse-
                          quences of too much sun."


SunWise Monitor
America*  Cancer  fociety
     five communities across the country are participating
     in an exciting new American Cancer Society (ACS)
     program designed to increase awareness about skin
cancer and sun-safety techniques. The new initiative
engages a multi-faceted approach that targets daycare
centers, schools, primary care providers, beach and pool
facilities, as well as the media.
Although they do not have a formal partnership with
EPA, Mary O'Connell of ACS said that the new commu-
nity programs will focus on actively promoting SunWise.
"If schools do not currently have a sun-protection pro-
             gram, we are encouraging them to contact
              EPA and join SunWise. EPA spent a lot of
              time developing this program, and we
              think  it's a great resource," O'Connell said.
                 In  addition to asking teachers to
                 devote at least two classroom sessions
                 to  sun safety education, ACS is asking
                 schools to examine their sun aware-
                           ness policies. For example,
                           ACS is looking at whether
                               schools offer  shade
                               provision during recess
                               and whether  or not
                         children are required to wear
                     hats and apply sunscreen when
          outside. According to O'Connell, this repre-
                                                       sents a shift from previous programs, "It used to be that
                                                       the responsibility for sun safety fell to the individual;
                                                       however, we're attempting to integrate policy into the
                                                       equation," she said.
                                                       At pools and beaches, the new ACS program offers sun-
                                                       safety training for staff members and lifeguards. "Because
                                                       they are visible to patrons, it's important for lifeguards to
                                                       act as role models and exhibit responsible sun-safety
                                                       behaviors," O'Connell said. In addition, ACS asks water-
                                                       safety instructors to remind their students to "Slip! Slop!
                                                       Slap! Wrap!" at the end of each lesson. This slogan,
                                                       which means "Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on
                                                       a hat, and Wrap on sunglasses," was adapted from a
                                                       campaign successfully used for many years  by the
                                                       Australian Cancer Society.
                                                       Primary care physicians can participate in the program
                                                       by distributing patient education materials in their wait-
                                                       ing rooms, engaging their patients in discussions about
                                                       sun safety, and, when applicable, tagging the charts of
                                                       patients who are at high risk for sun-related illness.
                                                       According to O'Connell, ACS is optimistic about the suc-
                                                       cess of this new initiative and is currently evaluating its
                                                       first batch of field tests. Results from these tests will  be
                                                       reported to EPA by the end of the summer.  For more
                                                       information about ACS and its sun-safe communities
                                                       programs, visit its Web site at .  (H)
A  Ray  of  Li

The program got its start in 1999 when a group of derma-
tologists from the Ohio Medical Association passed a reso-
lution to teach students throughout the state about the
hazards of the sun and tanning salons. Volunteers from the
Montgomery County Medical Alliance and its auxiliary
support group decided to take action on the resolution.
When the committee read about the SunWise program in
a newspaper article and began using SunWise materials,
                                                      it began to have success in attracting schools to the idea.
                                                      "EPAs program was definitely the springboard for our
                                                      program," said Lacey "Their ready-to-use materials made
                                                      a huge difference. We are anxiously awaiting new
                                                      SunWise materials to incorporate into our program."
                                                      For more information about RAYS, send an e-mail to
                                                      RAYSTASKFORCE@aol.com. ©

         the    J
    ome say curiosity killed the cat,
    but, as a group of Illinois stu-
    dents recently discovered, asking
the right questions can also save
lives. Debbie Brennan, the learning
coordinator at Central Middle School
in Tinley Park, Illinois, works with
the top 5 percent of the seventh and
eighth grade students as part of the
school's gifted program. Brennan
practices "inquiry learning," a loose
system that allows students to ask
questions about a topic of their
choice and conduct activities to
answer them.
"A few years ago in May, a group of
my students noticed some high
school kids lined up outside a tan-
ning salon in preparation for their
prom," Brennan said. "I overheard
them complaining that tanning caus-
es skin cancer, and I asked them how
they knew  for sure." To find the
answer, the students began a research
project on the effects of exposure to
ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Not long
after that, Brennan discovered EPAs
SunWise Web site. She began work-
ing with EPA to create activities
based on SunWise materials that fit
the Illinois state learning stan-
dards, incorporating language, fine
arts, science, and math.
For many of their activities, the
students conduct both group and
individual research and then find
creative ways to share what they
learn. One part of their research
effort was to contact the American
Cancer Society, which sent them
information, bookmarks, and stickers
related to sun safety. Brennan has also
forged relationships with a local
oncologist and a Chicago-based mete-
orologist, both of whom are available
to answer students' questions.
To share what  they learned last year,
the students created flyers on sun
safety and distributed them to local
youth sports teams. The students
also decorated and gave away hats
and bandanas with UV-sensitive
paint and performed experiments by
applying sun screen to necklaces
they made from UV-sensitive beads.
As part of a long-term activity, the
students monitor and chart daily
local UV intensity. The students also
share their information by writing
articles for the school newsletter,
posting articles and notices on a
school bulletin board, and posting
information on their Web site

SunWise Monitor
                                                                OK    foe?
             Due in large part to the publicity surrounding holes in the ozone layer, most people
             are familiar with stratospheric ozone—the kind that protects humans, plants, and ani-
             mals from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. But did you know that
             ozone exists at ground level?  More commonly referred to as smog, ground-level
             ozone is often seen in the skyline of major cities. These two types of ozone affect the
             environment differently, and both are  worth a closer look.
                                                               Ozone forms in the atmosphere when three atoms
                                                               of oxygen are combined (O3). Ozone located in
                                                               the stratosphere—about 15 to 30 kilometers
                                                          above the earths surface—protects the environment and
                                                          its inhabitants from UV radiation that can cause health
                                                          problems, including skin cancer, eye damage, and sup-
                                                          pression of the immune system, as well as damage to
                                                          crops and ecosystems. To maintain a consistent protec-
                                                          tive layer for Earth, stratospheric ozone is naturally cre-
                                                          ated and destroyed at a constant rate, but human-made
                                                          substances, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), inter-
                                                          fere with this process. CFCs, methyl bromide, and other
                                                          substances accelerate and aggravate ozone depletion in
                                                          the stratosphere. This  causes "holes" in the ozone
                                                          layer—areas where ozone thickness has decreased signif-
                                                          icantly. Reduced ozone layer thickness means less protec-
                                                          tion from UV rays and increased risks to human health
                                                          and the environment.  International cooperation has suc-
                                                          ceeded in reducing the production and use of CFCs and
                                                          other ozone-depleting substances in certain areas of the
                                                          world, but these substances persist in the atmosphere
                                                          and will continue to disrupt the delicate balance of the
                                                          protective ozone layer for years to come.

                                                                                                    SunWise Monitor
                 Tke   Bad
6round-level ozone is a major component of air
      pollution. It is created when oxides of nitrogen
      (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—
byproducts of vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, and
chemical solvents—chemically react in the presence of
strong sunlight and warm weather conditions. Exposure
to ozone pollution can cause a range of health problems,
including chest pains, coughing, throat irritation, and
congestion, and it can worsen bronchitis, emphysema,
heart disease, and asthma. It can also damage plants and
trees and reduce crop production. Decreasing NOx
and VOC emissions from power plants and other facili-
ties, and automobile exhaust are two ways of combating
the creation of polluting ozone.
       The Effect;  cm  Cli
     Hardly a day goes by without an article or news fea-
     ture on global warming and climate change
     appearing in the media. You may be wondering,
therefore, whether there is a link between ozone deple-
tion and climate change.
The answer is yes, and in more ways than one. First,
ozone-depleting substances are greenhouse gases. They
comprise only a small portion of total greenhouse gases
produced worldwide, but they still contribute to global
climate change. And substitutes for ozone-depleting sub-
stances, while helping to protect the ozone layer, are also
potent greenhouse gases.
Second, climate change may accelerate ozone depletion,
which worsens when temperatures in the stratosphere
become colder. Global warming is caused by increases in
greenhouse gases and essentially robs the stratosphere of
warmth by trapping heat below it. This creates a colder
stratosphere and increased ozone depletion, particularly
in colder latitudes, such as the North Pole and Arctic
Circle. This occurrence could have major consequences
in the near future. Just as the ozone layer is expected to
begin recovering from worldwide reductions in CFC
production and use, higher global temperatures may
increase ozone depletion, canceling out the gains made
up to this point. As Jason Samenow, a climate scientist in
EPAs Office of Air and Radiation states, "These issues
should no longer be considered in isolation given the
interconnectedness of our changing atmosphere."

6    SunWise Monitor
                                             In May 2000, Linda Rutsch of EPA's SunWise Program gave
                                              a presentation on sun safety to first graders at Georgian
                                               Forest Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland.  In
                                               addition, she spoke to other students at the school during
                                                two assemblies. The school also incorporated SunWise
                                                activities into their annual field day in June 2000, includ-
                                                 ing  a SunWise relay, UV frisbee activity, shadow chalk
                                                drawing, and UV meter and UV bead activity. To make
                                                the day even more exciting, it was covered by CNN!

                                              The following are excerpts from some of the letters the
                                               students sent to Linda in appreciation for her SunWise savvy.
            you  a
     to our ;chool...|
     that you ca* ^et ;u*
          /* cloudy day;.
     /* ouK
     teach  u; about ju*
     rafety. You are a ^oo
     teacher. I  Leaded
     that you have to put
Tha*k you far
howo  to  take  care  of
    body  by put/*<3
                              er too.
      you for
      u;e ;u*;
          a hat.
I  leaded  that eve^
clou  day; you ca^

                                                              a lot a  lot of
                                                                  you.  I
                                                                have to put
                                                                be^o^e woe
                                                       ^jo  outf/de,  woe have to
                                                       put are  clothe;, woear
                                                       ru^cjlarrer to protect
  leaded  hippo;
aUo leaded if
rhadowo  ir r^all
you play /^ the  ;hade.
                              (Artwork courtesy of students at Georgian Forest Elementary School, Silver Spring, Maryland.)

                                                                                          SunWise Monitor
                                  to  Tow*
        Anew feature on the SunWise Web site can help
        protect you from overexposure to the sun, not
        just in summer, but all year long. Users can now
search for the Ultraviolet (UV) Index by ZIP code at
 and view the daily
UV Index for their local area. "Prior to this, the  National
Weather Service (NWS) only issued a list of daily UV
Indexes  for 58 cities, and some major parts of the coun-
try were excluded. Now users can get the UV Index at
their exact location, which is much more beneficial to
them," said Craig Long of NWS.
The UV  Index was developed by NWS and EPA to pre-
dict UV  radiation levels.  Overexposure to the sun's UV
                                                    rays can cause sunburn and long-term effects such as
                                                    skin cancer and cataracts. The UV Index reports daily UV
                                                    forecasts on a 1 to 10+ scale that provides the expected
                                                    risk of overexposure to the sun, with 0 indicating mini-
                                                    mal risk and 10 indicating very high risk. It provides
                                                    important information to help people plan outdoor activ-
                                                    ities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun's rays.
                                                    As a future project, the NWS and EPA are considering
                                                    increasing the forecasted number of days, so users can
                                                    plan outdoor activities several days in advance. For more
                                                    information, contact Craig Long of NWS at 301 763-
                                                    8071, ext. 7557.  <§>
                           UV Index Forecast for a Typical Day
                                * Valid during the solar noon hour*
                         10 11  12

     SunWise Monitor
     Mew  Tool;  fair
     Ki<4;  to  be
         EPAS new SunWise Tool Kit is here! This collection of
         fun, developmentally appropriate activities combines
         education about sun protection and the environment
     with other aspects of learning. Teachers registered with
     the SunWise School Program receive a  free tool kit with
     comprehensive, cross-curricular activities that focus on:
             The science behind ultraviolet (UV) radiation
             and stratospheric ozone
             The health risks of overexposure to UV radiation
             The steps you can take to protect yourself
     The tool kit also contains a policy section  that shows
     teachers and students how to encourage sun-safety activi-
     ties outside of the classroom. These policy materials fea-
     ture suggestions on sharing SunWise knowledge with the
rest of the school, reaching out to families with sun-safe
practices, forming community partnerships, and  organiz-
ing sun-safe events. Stay tuned, as the tool kit will be
available in Spanish within the coming year.
For more information on the SunWise Tool Kit, contact
Linda Rutsch at 202 564-2261 or Kristin Kenausis at 202
564-2289. To join the SunWise School Program, please
visit the Web site at .
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