United States
                          Environmental Protection
Air and Radiation
November 1999
                            to   the
                                         h   i  to  r
                                          An Update  on  EPA's SunWise School Program
by Bob Perciasepe, Assistant Administrator for Air and
Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
 &       el come to the     Since 1996, CFCs and other
       I first issue of the   ozone-depleting substances
 1^^  I SunWise Monitor!   have been banned from
         Ielcome to the
         first issue of the
         SunWise Monitor!
         Through the
Monitor, EPA will share
important information
about the SunWise School
Program and sun protec-
tion with participating
Partner Schools and com-
munities across the coun-
try. The SunWise Program
is designed to teach
schoolchildren and their
caregivers how to avoid
overexposure to the sun.
SunWise is already under
way in more than 100
pilot schools and is
preparing for a national
launch in Fall 2000.
Why is EPA championing
sun safety today? Many of
us are becoming more
aware of our impact on the
environment, but some
might not realize that the
consequences of human
behavior stretch far beyond
Earths surface.
Years ago, you probably
didn't think twice about
using an aerosol spray or
turning on an air-condi-
tioner in your car or home.
Back then, we didn't know
that the chlorofluo-
rocarbons (CFCs)
released from these
products deplete the
ozone layer, which absorbs
the sun's harmful ultraviolet
(UV)  radiation.
                         new production in the
                         United States and other
                         developed countries, but it
                         will still take years to repair
                         the damage already inflict-
                         ed on the ozone layer. In
                         the meantime, increased
                         levels of harmful UV radia-
                         tion are likely to reach the
                         Earth, causing skin cancer,
                         cataracts, immune suppres-
                         sion, and other health
                         effects. Already, skin cancer
                         is the most common form
                         of cancer in the United
                         States, with more than one
                         million cases reported
                         In this time  of increased
                         risk, EPAs SunWise School
                         Program is an important
                         tool for the protection of
                         our health and the health
                         of our children.
                         On behalf of EPA, I would
                         like to thank you for your
                         continued support of this
                         vital program. Through
                         our combined efforts,
                         SunWise will play an inte-
                         gral role in assuring the
                         health and awareness of
                         children and caregivers.

            re you keeping yourself and your
            children safe in the sun? The sun-
            safety tips below are the cornerstone
            of the SunWise School Program  and
 a good way for anyone to reduce the risk of
 UV-related  health damage. Other than  staying
 indoors, no single step can fully protect you
 from overexposure to UV radiation, so follow as
 many of the action steps as possible.

      Limit Time in  the Midday Sun
     The sun's rays are strongest between
  10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, limit
    exposure to the sun during these hours.

 Wear Sunglasses That Block 99 to 100
        Percent of  UV Radiation
   Sunglasses that provide 99 to 100 percent
   UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce
   sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and
   other eye  damage. Check the label when
            buying sunglasses.
              Wear a Hat
    A hat with a wide  brim offers good sun
   protection for your eyes, ears, face, and the
  back of your neck—areas particularly prone to
          overexposure to the sun.

              Seek Shade
 Staying under cover is one of the best ways to
   protect yourself from the sun. Remember the
    shadow rule: "Watch Your Shadow—No
           Shadow, Seek Shade."
               Cover Up
  Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full-
  length clothing is a good way to protect your
         skin from the sun's UV rays.
         Always Use Sunscreen
  Apply sunscreen liberally on exposed skin and
 reapply every 2 hours when working or playing
   outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can
  come off when you towel  off sweat or water.

         Watch for the UV Index
  The UV Index provides important information
   to help you plan your outdoor activities in
   ways that prevent overexposure to the sun.
   Developed by the National Weather Service
 (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in
     selected cities across the United States.

  Avoid Sunlamps and  Tanning Salons
  The light source from sunbeds and sunlamps
  damages the skin and unprotected eyes.  It's a
 good idea to avoid artificial sources of  UV light.

SunWise Monitor
       on't believe everything you hear! An e-mail story
       disseminated widely this past spring claimed that
       waterproof sunscreen causes blindness in numer-
       ous children every year. Neither the American
Academy of Ophthalmology the Poison Control Center,
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor any
sunscreen manufacturers, have ever heard of a person
being blinded by sunscreen.
The most severe eye injury that sunscreen could cause  is
an abrasion of the surface of the eye, which could result
in moderate discomfort during the healing process but
no long-term effects. If sunscreen does get in the eye, the
Academy suggests rinsing with water and seeing an eye
doctor if the pain does not subside.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a
person receives approximately 80 percent of his or her
lifetime sun exposure by the age of 18. Preventing over-
exposure in childhood by following the action steps for
sun protection, therefore, is essential to preventing skin
cancer later in life. (See "Take Action," p.l.) ®
                                                         Read about SunWise  in  action!  The following
                                                         SunWise stories from  students and  teachers ir
  f unscreen already
      tops the shopping
      list of any SunWise
 J  consumer. Now,
new labeling changes aim
to help shoppers make a
more informed decision
on sun protection.
In May 1999, FDA finalized
labeling requirements for
over-the-counter sunscreen
products. While the regula-
tions call for the discontin-
uation of terms that might
be misleading, such as
"sunblock,"  or "water-
proof," the most important
label change will be the
appearance of PDAs three
new sun protection cate-
                            Look  fair
                          gories. Devised to help con-
                          sumers choose the right
                          SPF level for their needs,
                          the optional rankings will
                          appear as follows:
                          •  Minimal—SPF levels
                             from 2 to below 12.
                          •  Moderate—SPF levels
                             from 12 to below 30.
                          •  High—SPF levels of 30
                             and higher.
                          Specific SPF numbers will
                          continue to appear on
                          product labels, though the
                          highest category will be
                          "30+" for values above 30.
                          Under these new labeling
                          regulations, you'll also
                                                         f tudents in Glendora, California,
                                                              )are using technology to explore
                                                              the science behind SunWise.
                                                              Greg Morrison's science class at
                                                        Goddard Middle School uses many
                                                        tools, including the Internet, CD-
                                                        ROMs, videos, and laboratory experi-
                                                        ments to collect, report, and analyze
                                                        UV-related data. In a favorite class
                                                        activity, students use hand-held UV
                                                        monitors, available from EPA, to
                                                        measure the intensity of UV rays at
                                                        ground level. After gathering these
                 start seeing a "sun alert"
                 statement on products dis-
                 cussing the important role
                 of sunscreen in overall
                 sun-related health protec-
                 tion. Products that won't
                 screen out the sun's harm-
                 ful rays must be marked as
                 well. Labels on tanning
                 lotions, which do not con-
                 tain sunscreen, must fea-
                 ture a warning about their
                 lack of protection against
                 sun exposure.
                 For more information
                 on PDAs new regulations,
                 consult its Web site at
                 . ®
                                                         data, the students can up.
                                                         results to the SunWise W
                                                         With the help of the local
                                                         Club's Teacher Mini Grant
                                                         Morrison runs another po
                                                         ment using UV-sensitive b
                                                         students about the sun's U
                                                         the effects of UV radiation
                                                         skin and health. Outside,
                                                         observe the beads changir
                                                         light colors to darker colo:
                                                         spending to the strength c
                                                         UV rays. The students the:
For more informatic
Mary Ann Moore
Brownstown Middle
20135 Inkster Road
Brownstown, Ml 48
        TiT/G?  I ft
                                                                                 Held meetings with community plan-
                                                                                 ning teams. Began promoting
                                                                                 SunWise School Program to teachers
    Conceived SunWise Schoo
Examined other sun protection programs and
developed tenets of SunWise School Program
            Spring  1997
            with stakeholder
                           Drming meetma
                                                     Mid 1998
                                                     Partnered with a number of health and weather
                                                     organizations and held stakeholder meeting to
                                                     develop and  implement SunWise School Program.
                                                                    Winter 1!

 articles share  some  exciting
  partner schools across the country.
load their
eb site.
pular experi-
eads to teach
V rays and
on human
ig from clear,
rs, corre-
)f the sun's
n examine
       and record the effectiveness of different
       types of sun protection, covering the
       beads with sunscreens of various SPF
       levels, sunglasses, wet and dry cloth-
       ing, and plastic.
       In addition, Morrison uses video
       tapes of national newscasts about the
       ozone layer, which further demon-
       strate the scope and breadth of the
       subject. All these sun-science activi-
       ties and students' work are featured
       on Morrison's class Web site,
       . (§)
                For more information:
                Greg Morrison
                Goddard Middle School
                859 E. Sierra Madre
                Glendora, CA 91741
                        ife  Field  Pay

i School

              se seventh graders in Brownstown, Michigan, took
         the sting out of an annual school event by encouraging
         fellow students to practice sun-safe behavior. Every June
         at Brownstown Middle School, students spend a "field
    day" competing in outdoor events. Unfortunately, just as field
    day was a Brownstown tradition, so were the many sun-
    burned students in school the following Monday.
    This year was different, however, thanks to the SunWise
    School Program and the students in 6th grade and the 7th
    grade health classes. As participants in the SunWise pilot, the
    students launched a sun-safe campaign for the field day,
    encouraging their schoolmates to use sunscreen, hats, and
    sunglasses during the event. To spread the safety message, the
    classes created posters to hang in the school's hallways and
    asked local businesses to donate sunscreen for the students to
    use on the field day. According to Mary Ann Moore, the 7th
    grade teacher, there were no  occurrences of severe sunburns
    at this year's  field day.
ne  The  Brownstown students put their SunWise knowledge
    into  practice again this past Arbor Day when they planted
    3-foot  oak saplings on the school grounds. Eventually, these
    trees will provide protective shade for students participating
    in outdoor activities. 
                 tudents at Medway Middle
                 School in Medway,
                 Massachusetts, witnessed
                 first-hand the effects of
           overexposure to the sun. They
           remember seeing teacher Cheryl
           Cook walking the halls after her
           reconstructive facial surgery due to
          skin cancer.
          "Due to the size and placement of
         the tumor, I was quite a sight. Even
         kids who weren't in my class knew
         who I was," explained Cook. "That's
        why my efforts to educate kids about
        the sun have been so successful; they
        don't want what happened to me to
        happen to them."
       Cook — along with her teaching assistant
       Maureen Leighton — has incorporated
       numerous SunWise activities into the
      lessons of her two seventh-grade classes.
      In addition to using many of the ideas
      provided by the SunWise School Program,
     she invented "SunWise Bingo" and has
     helped students develop skits, posters,
     commercials, and songs about sun protec-
    tion. One skit was called "Sizzle News," and
    another took the form of a talk show with
    special guest "U.T. Violet."
   Cook's students volunteer each day to take
   measurements of UV intensity outside, and
   post results twice a day on a bulletin board.
  She also encourages the Weather Service Club
  to announce the UV Index each morning.
  As a culminating activity for the 1998-1999
 school year,  Cook created a video documenting
 students' performances and creative initiatives.
 "I am pleased to be part of the SunWise pro-
gram," she says, "because it is a good life lesson
for my students."

            For more information:
                Cheryl Cook
           Medway Middle School
    45 Hofflston Street, Medway, MA 02053
           508 533-7654 ext. 5328
      Conducted pilot testing
      (phase I) with 25 participat-
      ing schools.
                                                                        Hold press event to announce debut of
                                                                        SunWise School Program across the country
Evaluated SunWise progress to date and
make improvements to the program.
                                             September 1999 to June 2000
                                               induct pilot testing (phase
                                               0 participatinq schools.
                                                                                              Fall 2000
                                                                                       -Toqram natioi

     SunWise Monitor
                           Looking for more information on the SunWise
                           School Program, general sun safety, or the sci-
                           ence behind UV  radiation and the ozone layer?
                           Check out the many electronic and print resources
                           EPA makes available to the  public free of charge.
     SunWise School Program
     Internet Learning Site
     www. epa. go v/s unwise
     An excellent source for
     information on the
     SunWise School Program,
     this Web site includes gen-
     eral information on ozone
     depletion, UV radiation,
     UV health effects, and sun-
     safety tips. The site also
     includes an  online registra-
     tion form for joining the
     SunWise Program,  as well
     as links to other informa-
     tive educational sites.
     Students and teachers can
     currently use the site to
     report and interpret daily
     measurements of UV data.
     As the SunWise  Program
     develops, additional  fea-
     tures and activities,
     including games and
     experiments, will be  added
     to the site.
SunWise School
Program Guide
This guide provides infor-
mation about the SunWise
School Program, details
how to become a Partner
school, describes tools
available to Partner
schools, and explains how
the program will be evalu-
ated. The guide may be
downloaded as a 322K
Adobe Acrobat (PDF
Format) file from the
SunWise School Program
Web site (see address
above). To order a hard
copy of the guide, contact
EPAs Stratospheric Ozone
Information Hotline at
800 296-1996. For addi-
tional information, contact
Linda Rutsch of the
SunWise School
Program at
202 564-2261.
                                                                - Safety
 Hie Sun, UV, and You: A
 Guide to SunWise Behavior
 This newly updated book-
 let presents the science
 behind UV radiation and
 stratospheric ozone and the
 health risks associated with
 overexposure to the sun. It
 also provides steps for pro-
 tecting yourself and your
 children, defines the UV
 Index, and provides a list
 of additional resources.
  For more information
  or to obtain copies of
 these resources, visit the
  SunWise Web site at

 or contact Kevin Rosseel
 of EPA at 202 564-9731.
SunWise Fact Sheets
A number of short, inform-
ative factsheets also are
• Health Effects of
  Overexposure  to the Sun
• Action Steps for Sun
• Ozone Depletion
• Ultraviolet Radiation

Kids Komer
Teachers and their SunWise
students are invited to
submit articles about their
activities, story ideas, art-
work, and sun-safety proj-
ect ideas to  be featured in
future issues of the SunWise
Monitor. You can send
materials to Linda Rutsch
  or U.S. EPA (Mailcode
  6205J), 401M Street,
  SW, Washington, DC
     The SunWise School Program is an Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) project.
    United States
    Environmental Protection Agency
    Washington, DC 20460

    Official Business
    Penalty for Private Use
    > Printed on paper that contains at least 30 percent postconsumer fiber.