Tool Kit

      a partnership
      between the
I.S. Environmental      National Weather
Protection Agency         Service    *ป
            and the             f/ป
 American Meteorological

INTRODUCTION                                                                                                   1
          How to Use the Sun Wise Meteorologist Tool Kit 	2
          Why Sun Safety Education?	3
          Becoming a Sun Wise School or Partner	4
          Tools Available to Sun Wise Schools and Partners 	4

ON-AIR TALKING POINTS                                                                                         5

          Engagement Activity (15-25 minutes)	10
          Student interaction/class discussion/information sharing
          * This activity can be the engagement/introduction activity or can be used as the entire Sun Wise presentation.

          Scavenger Hunt (10-15 minutes)	13
          Student interaction/class discussion
          * Use graphic transparency to identify Sun Wise and SunFoolish behaviors.

          Watch Your  Shadow (10-15 minutes)	15
          Student interaction/information sharing
          * Use graphic transparency to discuss shadows and the rule: "Short shadow, seek shade!"

          UV Index (Tools of a Meteorologist) (10-15 minutes)  	17
          Information sharing
          * Use the graphic transparency and Sun Wisdom sheets on the UV Index and UV Radiation to inform students
            about the specifics of the UV Index and UV Radiation.

          A SunWise Weathercast (Role Play for Students) (15-20 minutes)  	19
          Student role play
          * Students use this activity to demonstrate an understanding of the UV Index and other tools used by
            a meteorologist to inform the public about weather and action steps for sun-safe behavior.

          Why Worry About Too Much Sun? (UV Frisbeeฎ Fun) (15-30 minutes)	20
          Student interaction (outside activity)
          * Students use the UV-sensitive Frisbee to test various SPF sunblocks, sunglasses, and clothing for UV
            blocking ability.

                            Speedy Sun Relay Race (20-30 minutes)	21
                            Student interaction/class discussion (may take place outside)
                            * Students use this activity to demonstrate their understanding of appropriate action steps for sun safety.

                            SunWise Riddles (Time varies)	22
                            Share with students

                            Sun Scoop (Follow-up activity for teacher to use)	24

                  UV METER (OPTIONAL)	25
                            Hand-Held UV Meter: Device Operating Instructions	27
                            UV Meter Activities  	29

                  SUNWISDOM	33
                            Action Steps for Sun Protection	34
                            Health Effects of Sun Overexposure 	35
                            Ozone Depletion	37
                            UV Radiation	38
                            What Is the UV Index?	40

                  RESOURCES  	42

                  CONTACT INFORMATION	48

                  CERTIFICATE OF SUNWISDOM	50


How  to Use the  SunWise Meteorologist  Tool Kit
The SunWise Program is designed to help meteorologists
raise sun safety awareness by addressing the science of
the sun, the risk of overexposure to its ultraviolet (UV)
radiation, and what students and their families can do to
protect themselves from overexposure. This Tool Kit has
been designed for use all over the United States and its
territories. As such, it will be used in schools with diverse
requirements, curricula, and student bodies. In addition,
across our nation, seasons, climate, and geography can
differ dramatically. With so many variables, SunWise
recognizes the need for maximum flexibility and
encourages users to adapt the Tool Kit components to meet
their specific needs.
Tool Kit Organization
The Tool Kit is divided into the following sections:
On-Air Talking Points
UV Meter Activities (optional)
Contact Information
Certificate of SunWisdom
Some of the activities contain classroom Discussion Points.
As an integral part of the learning process, these discussion
points will help you focus students on the lessons' messages,
which will assist them in relating what they have learned in
the classroom to their behavior outside the classroom.

The SunWisdom section contains fact sheets and other
materials that will provide you with background
information necessary to easily and thoroughly implement
the SunWise Program.

Resources are an indispensable part of any program and are
provided to help you enrich the SunWise activities.

Contact Information is provided to help with any questions
about the SunWise  Program.

In keeping with the intent of making these lessons hands-on
and fun, additional  SunWise materials are available, such as
the UV-sensitive Frisbeeฎ. Other EPA publications are also
available. Pay special attention to the videos and PowerPoint
lessons available online, as these can serve as good
introductory teaching tools.
The activities are designed to engage students while
ensuring that a sun safety message is being transmitted in
a manner suitable to their skills and abilities.

The activities are simple and fun; they range in length of time
and complexity, stimulating student interest while conveying
the appropriate sun safety messages.

Why  Sun Safety Education?
To help educators raise sun safety
awareness, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) has
developed the Sun Wise Program for
grades K-8. Sun Wise Partners
sponsor activities that raise
children's awareness of stratospheric
ozone depletion, UV radiation, and
simple sun safety practices. Sun Wise
is a collaborative effort between:
   • Schools
   • Communities
   • Teachers
   • Parents
   • Health professionals
   • Environmental groups
   • Meteorologists
   • Education organizations
   • Informal educational groups

Sun Wise is intended to actively
engage children in the learning
process. Its dual focus  on health and
the environment will help children
develop the skills necessary for
sustained Sun Wise behavior and an
appreciation for the environment
around them.
The program's learning components
build on a solid combination of
traditional and innovative education
practices already in use in many U.S.
schools. Through the program,
students and teachers will increase
their awareness of simple steps they
can take to protect themselves from
overexposure to the sun. Students
   • Demonstrate the ability to
     reduce  health risks by
     practicing health-enhancing
   • Acquire scientific knowledge
     and develop an understanding
     of the environmental concepts
     related to sun protection and
     ozone depletion.
   • Enhance critical thinking, data
     collection, reading, problem
     solving, decision-making, and
     communication skills.

The program also encourages schools
to promote sun protection policies
(e.g., using hats, sunscreen,
sunglasses) and to provide a sun-safe
infrastructure, including shade
structures (e.g., canopies, trees).
Sun Wise also supports community
partnerships, such as inviting guest
speakers to school assemblies.

Recognizing the many issues schools
are asked to address daily, Sun Wise
has been developed with the needs of
schools and educators in mind. The
program is designed to provide
maximum flexibility—elements can
be used as stand-alone teaching tools
or to complement existing school

The time commitment necessary to
implement Sun Wise is minimal,
while the potential payoff in lower
skin cancer rates—and other health
benefits in the future—is high.

Through the use of classroom-, school-,
and community-based components,
SunWise seeks to develop sustained
sun-safe behaviors. To learn more
about how you can become involved,

Becoming a  SunWise  School or Partner
Becoming a SunWise School or Partner
is easy! Any elementary or middle school
or non-profit organization that reaches
children may participate.
To become a SunWise School or Partner:
1.  Complete the registration form
   located on the SunWise Web site, Look for the
   "Join Now" link in the "Schools" or
   "Communities" sections of the site.
   EPA knows the registration form
   requires a substantial amount of
   information and appreciates your
   efforts to fill it out as completely as
2.  A random sample of participants will
   be asked to complete the SunWise
   Student Survey before and after
   implementation of SunWise
   activities. This simple, 10-minute
   questionnaire, developed by Boston
   University's Skin Cancer Prevention
   Team, elicits basic information on
   attitudes and practices of children
   relating to sun exposure. This survey
   will provide information for
   evaluation purposes only. All
   personal information will remain
3.  Adopt at least one of the following
   SunWise activities:
   • Cross-curricular, standards-based
     classroom activities.

   • UV measurement and posting on
     the Internet or in your school.
   • School infrastructure
     enhancements (school policy
     changes and/or sun protection
   • Community outreach (inviting
     guest speakers and forming
     business partnerships).
Tools Available  to  SunWise Schools and Partners
Based on the activities you choose, you
will receive, free of charge, materials and
tools to help you implement SunWise in
your school, camp, museum, club, or
community organization:
    The SunWise Tool Kit containing
    cross-curricular activities and
    background information for K-8
    learning levels. The kit also
    contains a UV-sensitive Frisbee for
    hands-on experiments and fun.
   • The SunWise Web site,, with
    information, links, and interactive
    activities for educators and

on-air talking points

                Use the following talking points
                when speaking to your viewers about
                sun safety and ozone awareness.

                Talking Points

                on SunWise

                Many of the activities in this Tool
                Kit can be adapted for short on-air
                discussions. For example:
                UV Frisbee
                • Cover the SunWise UV Frisbeeฎ with
                  a clear shower cap, and apply some
                  SPF 15 sunscreen to one area.
                • Take the Frisbee outside. Point out
                  how the white Frisbee gets darker in
                  reaction to the sun, but that the area
                  covered with sunscreen stays white.
                • Relate this reaction to how our skin is
                  affected when exposed to the sun.
                • Briefly discuss the UV Index and how
                  it can be used to plan outdoor activities
                  to avoid overexposure to the sun.
                • See Meteorologist Paul Gross' video
                  for additional ideas on how to
                  present the UV Frisbee activity:
                  Paul%20Gross%20UV%20 \
                                         SunWise in the Classroom
                                         • Visit a local SunWise school where
                                          students are learning about being
                                          SunWise and using some of the
                                          SunWise activities in the Tool Kit.

                                         • Record the students with a video

                                         • On a subsequent weather broadcast,
                                          show clips of the students and insert
                                          your own commentary on what they
                                          are doing and learning in the process.

                                         • EPA's SunWise Program has B-roll
                                          footage of kids learning about being
                                          SunWise if you are unable to visit a
                                          school yourself.

                                         Student Weather Forecast
                                         • Invite students from a local
                                          SunWise school to visit the
                                          television station.

                                         • Have the students present part of the
                                          weather forecast, including reporting
                                          what the UV Index is for that day.

                                         • Have the students explain what
                                          the UV Index is and what factors
                                          influence it on any particular day
                                          (e.g., cloud cover, reflection off
                                          water or snow, time of day).

                                         • Students should discuss
                                          appropriate SunWise Action Steps
                                          for that day, taking into account
                                          the UV Index level.
Alternate Version:
• Have a local school hold a contest
  between student groups/classes for
  presenting the best weather forecast
  to the rest of the school (perhaps
  over the morning PA system or in
  conjunction with an assembly).

• The winning group visits the local
  television station and presents the
  weather forecast with the

SunWise  Riddles
• To infuse a bit of humor into your
  weather forecast, follow up a
  report and discussion of the UV
  Index with some of the SunWise
  riddles presented in the Activities
  section of the Tool Kit.

• The riddles could  be posed to the
  viewing  audience, fellow news-
  casters on the set, or people out
  on the street.

Sun  Safety

Talking Points:
There are  a number of action steps
you can take to protect yourself
from the sun:

• Avoid burning. Five or more
  sunburns double your risk of
  developing skin cancer. And    5

                   remember, you can get a burn even
                   on mostly cloudy or overcast days.
                 •  Avoid sun tanning and tanning
                   beds. Ultraviolet (UV) light from
                   tanning beds and the sun causes
                   skin cancer and wrinkling.

                 •  Generously apply sunscreen to
                   all exposed skin using an SPF of
                   at least 15. Make sure the
                   sunscreen provides broad-
                   spectrum protection from both
                   UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every
                   two hours, even on cloudy days,
                   and after swimming or sweating.
                 •  Wear protective clothing, such
                   as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a
                   wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
                 •  Seek shade. Remember that the
                   sun's rays are strongest between 10
                   a.m. and 4 p.m.
                 •  Use extra caution near water,
                   snow, and sand. Water, snow, and
                   sand reflect the sun's rays and can
                   increase your chance of sunburn.
                 •  Watch for the UV Index. The UV
                   Index provides a daily forecast of
                   the expected risk of overexposure to
                   the sun. It uses a scale of 1 to 11+,
                   where 1 indicates a low risk of
                   overexposure and 11+ means an
                   extreme risk. Use the UV Index to
                                            help you plan your outdoor
                                            activities accordingly.
                                          •  Get Vitamin D safely through a
                                            diet that includes vitamin supple-
                                            ments and foods fortified with
                                            Vitamin D. Don't seek the sun for
                                            your Vitamin D needs.
                                          In addition, consider using EPA's UV
                                          Alert to find out if the level of UV
                                          radiation reaching your local area is
                                          going to be unusually intense for the
                                          time of year. The UV Alert offers
                                          simple steps you can take to protect
                                          you and your family. It is posted by
                                          ZIP Code at
                                          uvindex.html, and you can sign up to
                                          receive UV Alerts by e-mail.
                                          Many high UV days are also high
                                          ozone days, so take proper
                                          precautions when planning outdoor
                                          activities such as  exercising.

                                          Ozone Talking
                                          Since high levels of ground-level
                                          ozone are frequently an issue when
                                          the UV Index is high, it may be
                                          helpful to talk about ozone with the
                                          viewing audience.
                                          •   Ozone is a gas that  occurs both in
                                             the Earth's upper atmosphere
                                             and at ground level. Ozone can be
good or bad for your health and the
environment, depending on its
location in the atmosphere.
• What is "good" ozone?
  > "Good" ozone is located in the
    stratosphere, which extends
    upward from the Earth from
    about 6 to 30 miles and protects
    us from the sun's harmful rays.
  * Ozone consists of three oxygen
    atoms and is produced naturally in
    the stratosphere. However, much of
    this "good" ozone has been
    destroyed by man-made chemicals
    referred to as ozone-depleting
    substances (ODS), including
    chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
    Thinning of the protective ozone
    layer can be observed using
    satellite measurements, partic-
    ularly over the Polar regions.
  > Even though we have reduced or
    eliminated the use of many
    ODSs, their past use can still
    affect the protective ozone layer.
  > Ozone depletion can cause
    increased amounts of UV
    radiation to reach the Earth
    which can lead to more cases
    of skin cancer, cataracts, and
    impaired immune systems.

                   *• UV can also damage sensitive
                    crops, such as soybeans, and
                    reduce crop yields.

                   What is "bad" ozone?

                   ป Ozone that occurs at ground
                    level is an air pollutant that is
                    harmful to breathe. It damages
                    crops, trees, and other vegetation
                    and is a main ingredient of
                    urban smog.

                   > This "bad" ozone forms when
                    emissions from industrial
                    facilities and electric utilities,
                    motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline
                    vapors, and chemical solvents
                    react with sunlight.

                   * Ground-level ozone is a concern
                    during the summer months
                    because strong sunlight and hot
                    weather result in harmful ozone
                    concentrations in the air we
                    breathe. Many urban and
                    suburban areas throughout the
                    United States have high levels of
                    bad ozone. Many rural areas of
                    the country are also subject to
                    high ozone levels as winds carry
                    emissions hundreds of miles away
                    from their original sources.
                   > Breathing ozone can trigger
                    a variety of health problems
                    including chest pain, coughing,
                                             throat irritation, and congestion.
                                             It can also worsen bronchitis,
                                             emphysema, and asthma.
                                            * Healthy people also experience
                                             difficulty breathing when
                                             exposed to ozone pollution.
                                             Because ozone forms in hot
                                             weather, anyone who spends
                                             time outdoors in the summer
                                             may be affected, particularly
                                             children, outdoor workers,
                                             and people exercising.
                                            > You can help prevent bad ozone
                                             from forming by carpooling or
                                             using public transportation to
                                             reduce harmful emissions!

                                         Air Quality

                                         Index (AQI)
                                         Talking Points:
                                         The AQI can also be discussed in
                                         conjunction with the UV Index
                                         and ozone.
                                         •  The AQI is an index for reporting
                                            daily air quality, focusing on health
                                            effects you may experience within a
                                            few hours or days after breathing
                                            polluted air.
                                         •  The AQI is reported on a scale of 0
                                           to 500. The higher the AQI value,
  the greater the level of air pollution
  and the greater the health concern.

• EPA calculates the AQI for five
  major air pollutants regulated by
  the Clean Air Act: ground-level
  ozone, particle pollution (also
  known as particulate matter),
  carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide,
  and nitrogen dioxide. For each of
  these pollutants, EPA has
  established national air quality
  standards to protect public health.

• Ground-level ozone and airborne
  particles are the two pollutants that
  pose the greatest threat to human
  health in the United States.

• For more information on the AQI,


Engagement Activity
Estimated time
15-25 minutes (can be used as an
introduction or as the entire
Sun Wise presentation)
Suggested Audience Size
• Transparency of Student Response
• Action Steps for Sun Protection
• Individual or group copies of
• Student Response Sheet for
Learning Objective
The goal of this activity is to have
students begin to think about their
actions as they relate to sun safety
and to learn the action steps for sun-
safe/SunWise behavior.
Ask students to think about their
outside time (use an appropriate
timeframe that has sunny
conditions: yesterday, this past
weekend). What did you notice about
the weather conditions? What
influence, if any, did it have on your
actions? Have students (individually
or in groups of 2 to 3) spend 3 to 5
minutes filling in the Student
Response Sheet. Alternatively, you
can ask them these questions and fill
in the sheet yourself to save time or
if your audience is large.
Ask students to share their
responses. Use the transparency to
fill in a sample of student responses.
Talk about the weather (and more
specifically  the sun, which is the
"engine" that makes it all work) and
what the students did, or could do, to
make outside time more Sun Wise.
Select a sample of the student
responses. Discuss what influence
the sun had on their bodies. Explain
sun-safe behaviors to make students
become more aware and Sun Wise.
Refer to the Sun Wise Web site,, for more
Explanation/Discussion Hints
It's fun to play in the sun, but did
you know that too much sun can be
dangerous? If you've ever had a
painful sunburn, you've experienced
one of the harmful effects of
overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet
(UV) radiation. Overexposure to UV
radiation can  cause more serious
health effects  too, such as skin
cancer; premature aging of the skin
and other skin disorders; cataracts
and other eye damage; and
weakening of the immune system.
(The immune  system is what keeps
us from getting sick.) Unprotected
exposure to the sun during youth
puts children  at an increased
lifetime risk for skin cancer.

The good news is that UV-related
health effects  are largely preventable
by establishing sun protection habits
while you're young and staying sun-
safe throughout your life. (Use
Action Steps Transparency.)

Time of Day:
Cold? Warm? Hot?
Sunny? Rainy?
Cloud cover:
Most of the sky?
Part of the sky?
Where were you?
Yard? Ball field? Blacktop?
What were you doing?
Playing? Bitฎ riding? Walking?
What clothes were you wearing?
Jacket? Shorts? Long sleeves?
Action Steps tor
Sun protection;
Were you wearing:
Long sleeve top?



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Action Steps for Sun Protection
   Do Not Burn
   Avoid San Taming and Taming Beds
   Generously Apply Sunscreen

   Wear Protective Clothing
   Seek Shade
                      Use Extra Caution Near Water,
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Scavenger Hunt
Estimated time
15-30 minutes

Suggested Audience Size

Transparency: Sun Wise or

Explanation/Discussion Hints
Use the transparency of Sun Wise
and SunFoolish behaviors. The
transparency will provide talking
points for presenters. As you point
out a situation, ask students if the
behavior is Sun Wise or SunFoolish.
Have students explain what actions
they could take to correct any
SunFoolish behavior. After the
discussion, use the transparency:
Action Steps for Sun Protection.
Possible Solutions

• Child with tank top and no hat

• SPF 10 sunscreen

• No sunglasses

• Boy in shorts and tank top

• Boy with sunglasses hanging
 around neck


• Wide-brimmed hat

• Long-sleeved shirt

• Long pants

• Sunglasses

• Applying SPF 15 sunscreen

• Child in shade

•;<ฃ.- SunWIse or SunFooiish?
                                     L LL._J_JL_J

Watch Your Shadow
Estimated Time:
10-15 minutes

Estimated Audience Size:

Transparency: Watch the Shadow

Discuss with students how shadows are formed. Use
the transparency provided and explain to students
that the shadows pictured represent SEVERAL
different times of day. Ask students to estimate the
time  of day represented for each shadow.

Discuss how shadows are  formed. A shadow is a dark
figure or image cast onto the ground by our bodies
intercepting the light of the sun. Both the sun and the
moon can create shadows. We have noticeable
shadows throughout the day; however, our shadows
are much shorter closer to noon when the sun is
overhead. Explain to the students that when their
shadows are long (during  the early and late parts of
the day), the sun is not as intense. When their
shadows are short (during the middle part of the day),
the sun is more intense, and they are at a greater risk
to the sun's damaging UV rays. Also mention that
visible light causes shadows, not UV rays. UV rays are
present even on cloudy days. Nevertheless, the
shadow rule is a good indication of UV intensity.
Teach the students the shadow rule:

"Watch your shadow. Short
shadow,  seek shade!"

Question  and Answers
1  What makes your shadow? The rays of the sun
   shining on one side of your body generate a
   shadow that is projected away from your body.

2  Do you always have a noticeable shadow? Yes, but
   when the sun is directly above at noon, the
   projection of the shadow is much shorter than it is
   during the rest of the  day.

3  Can the moon make shadows?  Yes. When there
   is a full moon, the light can create a shadow,
   but the moon does not emit UV rays.

4  Is your shadow always the same size? No. Your
   shadow is long in early morning and late afternoon,
   and your shadow is short during midday.
5  Ask students to explain what action steps for sun
   protection they would follow during the day. Action
   steps should include seeking shade, wearing a hat
   (wide-brimmed), using SPF 15 sunblock, wearing
   sunglasses, and wearing clothes to cover arms/legs.


-<ง,- Sun Wise
         Watch the Shadow
 Time of Day?
                                         Time of Day?
Time of Day?.

UV Index (Tools  of a Meteorologist)
Estimated time
10-15 minutes
Suggested Audience Size
• Transparency: UV Index Chart
• Sun Wisdom Sheets:
  • UV Radiation
  • What is the UV Index?
This activity should be used before
the Sun Wise WeatherCast. Explain
that a meteorologist uses many tools
in making a weather forecast
(thermometer, computer, etc.).
Explain what information is
gathered with each tool. (Use as
many examples as needed for the
audience.) The  UV Index is  another
useful tool. Pose some questions to

    • Have you heard of the UV
    Index? Where? (Answers will
   • Where might you look to find
     the UV Index? (Newspapers,
     Internet, weather reports)

   • Why would someone need the
     UV Index? (To plan outdoor

UV Index (explanation)
The ozone layer shields the Earth
from harmful UV radiation. Ozone
depletion, as well as seasonal and
weather variations, cause different
amounts of UV radiation to reach the
Earth at any given time. Developed by
the National Weather Service (NWS)
and EPA, the UV Index predicts the
next day's ultraviolet radiation levels
on a 1 to 11+ scale, helping people
determine appropriate sun-protective
behaviors. On the Index, 1 indicates a
minimal risk of overexposure and 11+
means a very high risk.

Calculated on a next-day basis for
every ZIP Code across the United
States, the UV Index takes into
account clouds and other local
conditions that affect the amount of
UV radiation reaching the ground in
different parts of the country. The
UV Index can be found by looking in
the weather section of the
newspaper, on TV and radio weather
stations, and on the Internet at
Sun Wise has also developed a tool
called EnviroFlash UV, which sends
subscribers an e-mail containing the
daily UV Index forecast for their city
or ZIP Code. You can also subscribe
to receive e-mails only on days when
there is a UV Alert for your area.
The UV Alert lets you know when
UV intensity in your city or town
will be unseasonably high, and
consequently the risk of
overexposure will be greater. The UV
Alert will also provide Sun Wise
action steps that you should take to
reduce risk of overexposure. To sign
up for EnviroFlash, please visit

                       UV ndex Number
                   Exposure Level
                          2 or Less
                           3 to 5
                           6 to 7
                           8 to 10
                      Very High

A SunWise Weathercast  (Role Play for Students)
Estimated time
15-20 minutes

Suggested Audience Size

This activity can be a wrap-up
activity or one to leave with the
teacher as a follow-up to your visit. A
sunny day forecast is the basis for
this activity. Have small groups of
students role play what they would
include in a sunny day weather
forecast if they were an on-camera
weather forecaster. Question
students about what they have
chosen to include in the talk and
why they included it.
Items to be included in the
weathercast may include:

   • Temperature

   • Relative humidity

   • Cloud cover

   • UV Index

   • The UV Alert

   • Action Steps for Sun Safety
Have students present the "broadcast"
for the class.

Why  Worry About
Too Much Sun?
(UV Frisbeeฎ Fun)
Estimated time
15-20 minutes. Please consult with the teacher before
taking students outside.

Suggested Audience Size
• UV-Sensitive Frisbee
• Sunblock with various
  SPFs (4, 8, 15, 30)
• Plastic shower cap
• Sunglasses
• Masking tape
• Marker
• Newspaper
• Sun Wisdom Sheet: Action
 Steps for Sun Safety
Talking Points
UV radiation from the sun can seriously threaten human
health. Sunburn, premature wrinkling, and skin cancer are
some examples of what too much sun can do to people. In
order to protect yourself from too much sun, wear a hat,
sunglasses, and other protective clothing. Apply a broad-
spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or higher
liberally to exposed skin, and  reapply every two hours
when working or playing outdoors. Let's prove that SPF 15
sunscreen can protect you from the sun.
   • Cover the Frisbee with the clear plastic shower cap
   • Apply small circles of sunscreen (different SPF
     levels: 4/8/15/30).
   • Use masking tape and marker to identify each
     SPF level.
   • Ask students to predict what they think will happen
     where each SPF sunscreen was applied when the
     Frisbee is exposed to the sunlight.
   • Cover the Frisbee with newspaper and take it outside.
   • Uncover the Frisbee and have students observe.
   • The unprotected area of the UV Frisbee will change
   • The circles with SPF 4 will change color quickly.
   • The circles with SPF 15 and greater will not change
   • Have students explain what occurred.

If time permits, return inside, remove the plastic covering
and set up a test of different sunglasses to see if they block
UV rays. Follow procedure of placing  the sunglasses on the
Frisbee, cover the Frisbee and go outdoors. Uncover  the
Frisbee and observe. Have students explain what occurred.
If you have a UV light, this activity may be done using the
light  indoors; however, it is  more effective and dramatic to
do it  outside. You may follow up this activity with the
Sun Wisdom Sheet: Action Steps for Sun Safety.

Speedy  Sun Relay Race
Estimated Time
30 minutes
Suggested Audience Size
  • A field or other open space with 20 yards of room
  • One set of the following Sun Wise and SunFoolish
   clothes and items for each team:
       • Long-sleeved shirt (preferably with collar)
       • Long pants (optional)
       • Hats (wide-brimmed)
       • Sunglasses
       • Empty bottles of sunscreen, some with SPFs
         of 15 and higher, some with lower SPFs
       • Umbrella (optional)
       • Various other articles of clothing that are
         not sun safe, like tank tops, shorts, baseball
         caps, visors, etc.
Note: Make sure that the clothes are large enough for
each student to put on and take off easily.
Learning Objective
This activity will challenge students to think quickly
about sun-safe behavior by selecting correct sun-safe
clothes in a competitive environment. Students will
learn that wearing SunWise clothes is another way to
be safe in the sun, and they'll get some exercise, too! As
an assessment, have the class examine the non-winning
teams'  clothes after the race and suggest corrections.
Organize the class into teams. The number of team
members is dependent on the size of the audience.
The recommended team size is five members. Line
teams up at the start of the race course. Place the
piles of clothes at the other end of the race course.

Have each team select one student to be the SunWise
model. This student will stay at the starting point of
the race. The other team members should each take
turns running to the pile of clothes, selecting one
item, and running it back to the model to wear.

The first team to have a completely and appropriately
dressed SunWise model is the winner. The SunWise
models should be wearing a protective hat, long-sleeved
shirt, long pants (optional), and sunglasses, and be
carrying a bottle of sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.

Modified  Directions
If time and space are limited, modify the activity using
the directions below. In either case, communication with
the teacher is vital before this activity can take place.

  • Use "hula-hoops" or rope to mark off two sections
   on the floor labeled "SunWise" and "SunFoolish."
  • Have the clothing and materials in one large
   pile between the two marked-off areas.
  • Have teams of students take turns to select and
   place the appropriate SunWise articles in the
   hoop/square/marked-off area.
  • Have teams of students compete to complete the
   activity the most accurately and in the least
   amount of time.
  • Students must explain why each article was
   placed in the SunWise or SunFoolish area.           21


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SunWise Riddles
Use the riddles as an icebreaker or
wrap-up activity for students.
Approximate grade levels are
suggested. The riddles can be used
with all audiences.

Grades  K-2:

   • Knock, Knock. Who's there?
     Ira.  Ira who?
     Ira... "gret" that I didn't put
     on my hat when I went out
     to play!

   • Knock, Knock. Who's there?
     Anita. Anita who?
     I "nita" another bottle of SPF
     15 sunscreen!

   • Knock, Knock. Who's there?
     Shirley. Shirley who?
     Shirley you're not going outside
     without your sunglasses!
Grades 3-5:

   • What do you get when you
     cross a sheep with a bee?
     A bah-humbug! (Explain that
     bees can see UV light.)

   • What's the biggest problem
     with snow boots?
     They melt! (Remind students
     that UV is still a problem in
     the winter/reflects off snow
     and increases with higher

   • Where did the dermatologist
     start his business?
     From scratch! (Remind
     students that instances of
     melanoma can be decreased
     by following sun-safe
Grades 6-8:

   • The sign on the door leading to
     the school's outdoor cafe says:
     "Hats and sunglasses required
     to eat in the outdoor cafe."
     A student then wrote below:
     "Shirts can eat wherever they

   • Where can someone ALWAYS
     find sunscreen when they look
     for it?
     In the dictionary.

   • Bob: First I had ultraviolet
     radiation, followed by immune
     suppression and squamous cell
     carcinoma. After that I got
     basal cell carcinomas with
     actinic keratoses.  Following
     that I got cataracts and finally
     ended up with melanoma.
     Martha: Boy, you  had a rough
     Bob: I'll say! I thought I'd
     never pull through that
     spelling test.

Sun Scoop
Use a video camera, tape recorder, or pencil and
paper to develop a news story. Story angles could
include the health effects of overexposure to the
sun, sun protection, or how the UV Index works.

First, gather the facts (who, what, when, where,
why, and how) using resources, such as the Internet,
encyclopedias, or your local newspaper. Interview
an expert. This could be a science teacher, nurse,
or local weather forecaster. Write your story's
first paragraph, called the  lead, then write  the
rest of the story. As a guide, answer the three
questions below. Be prepared to share your news
story with your class.

Talk with the editor of your school or local paper
about printing the news story. Ask your teacher
or principal if you can read it over the PA system
during morning announcements.
Vocabulary Words
Story Angle — The topic or approach to a news story.

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How — Questions
that form the basic building blocks of any news
story. A story might answer some or all of these

Lead — The most important part of the story. The
lead is always the first paragraph and it explains
some of the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and
How questions.


1  What questions will you ask the expert?
2  What is the most important part, or lead,
   of your story?
                                                3  Of the facts gathered, which ones should be
                                                   included in your story?

uv meter (optional)
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                      Daily reporting of UV intensity
                      data by school children will
                      enable students to understand the
                      scientific concepts related to ozone
                      depletion and UV radiation. It
                      will help them modify their
                      outdoor behaviors to limit
                      exposure and future incidences of
                      adverse health effects.
                      This section includes
                      instructions for operating your
                      hand-held UV meter as well as
                                              three activities beyond entering
                                              your data on the Sun Wise
                                              Internet Site. Good luck with
                                              your UV monitoring  efforts!

                                              UV Meter Activities
                                              1  What  Works? Effectively
                                                Blocking UV Rays

                                              2  Chart and Graph UV
                                              3  Reflecting UV Radiation


Hand-Held UV Meter: Device Operating Instructions
The activities in this section require
the use of an ultraviolet (UV) meter.
If you choose to purchase a hand-held
UV meter, several vendors can be
found on the Internet. We urge you to
check the open market for price,
quality, and delivery terms before
purchasing any items. EPA cannot
endorse the products and services of
these vendors.

Some hand-held UV meters measure
the intensity of the sun's UV rays
based upon the UV Index (UVI) scale
of 1 to 11+ (low to extreme).
UV Index Values
UV Index values depict intensity
levels on a 1 to 11+ scale in the
following way:
Index Number


  3 to 5

  6 to 7

  8 to 10

Intensity Level




 Very High

While you should always take
precautions against overexposure,
you should take special care to
adopt safeguards such as SPF 15+
sunscreen, hats, sunglasses,
protective clothing, etc., as the UV
Index value gets higher.

Registered Sun Wise schools and
partners can enter daily UV forecast
and intensity data by logging onto
the Sun Wise Web site at www.
Detailed instructions for entering
the data can be found on the site.

            • Use your meter to monitor only
             the sun's natural radiation. It
             should never be used to measure
             UV from artificial sources such as
             tanning beds.

            • Staying in the shade does not
             provide complete protection from
             UV radiation due to the scattering
             effect of UV radiation.

            • High temperature and humidity
             may lead to incorrect results. Do
             not leave the device in conditions
             of high humidity or temperature
             for long periods.

            • The meter may fail to operate
             correctly if the sensor window is
             not kept clean. Remove dirt with
             a piece of soft cloth moistened in
             alcohol (ethanol, isopropanol).
             Use cleaning fluids sparingly.

            • Upon leaving the factory, the meter
             is carefully calibrated. Improper
             handling (water immersion, strong
             shocks) may alter the meter's
             parameters. Handle it with care.

            Your UV meter should not replace
            your common sense or current
            method of avoiding skin and eye
            damage by the sun.
About the UV Index
The UV Index, developed by the
National Weather Service and EPA,
provides a forecast of the expected
risk of overexposure to the sun and
indicates the degree of caution you
should take when working, playing,
or exercising outdoors. The UV Index
predicts UV intensity on a 1 to 11+
scale, where 1 indicates a low risk of
overexposure, and 11+ means an
extreme risk. Calculated on a next-
day basis for every ZIP Code  across
the United States, the UV Index
takes into account clouds and other
local conditions that affect the
amount of UV radiation reaching the
ground in different parts of the

For more detailed information on UV
radiation and the UV Index, read the
factsheets that can be found in the
Sun Wisdom section of this Tool Kit
or log onto the Sun Wise Web  site,

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             Effectively Blocking
             Estimated Time
             40-50 minutes
             UV meter
             Plastic bags
             Pairs of UV and non-UV sunglasses
             Variety of sunscreens with different SPF numbers
             Variety of fabric pieces
             Learning Objective
             This activity will show students that different
             sunscreens, coverings, and sunglasses can have a real
             effect on UV levels. This will emphasize to students the
             need to wear sunscreen, while at the same time helping
             them distinguish the effectiveness of different types.
             Assess student comprehension by asking them to predict
             what levels of protection different materials would offer,
             other than the ones you've tried in the experiment.
             Take the UV meter outside. Have one student check and
             record the unfiltered UV level. Next, have the class take
             turns covering the UV meter with plastic bags and
             applying different sunscreens on the outside of the plastic
             bag over the sensor area. Make sure the students apply an
             even amount, no thicker than you would apply on your
body. Have the students check and record the UV reading
and sunscreen SPF number with each sunscreen. Try this
for a variety of sunscreens with different SPF numbers. Use
a clean bag for each sunscreen  application.

Next, try the same experiment with sunglasses.
Have the class cover the UV meter sensor area with
different pairs of sunglasses, and record the results.
Finally, try covering the sensor with different types and
colors of cloth and record the  results.
Questions and Answers

1  What SPF number seems  to be the most protective
   against the sun's harmful  UV rays? How much of a
   difference did it make? Since SPF 15 filters out 93
   percent of UVB radiation,  and SPF 30 filters out 97
   percent, there should be little noticeable difference
   with SPF numbers higher  than 15; there should be a
   difference between 4 and 15.
2  Which pair of sunglasses filtered out the most UV
   rays? Were they UV sunglasses? Answers may vary.
   Yes, if the UV reading was low.
3  What kind of cloth filtered out the most UV rays?
   Was  there any difference in similar types of cloth but
   with different colors? Your answers will vary.
   Generally, tighter weave provides greater protection.

4  Given what you have learned from this experiment,
   what precautions should you take when going
   outside in order to protect yourself from the sun's
   harmful UV rays? Answers will vary, but students
   might say wearing sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, UV
   blocking sunglasses, and tightly-woven clothing.

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        Chart and Graph
        UV Intensity
        Estimated Time
        This activity should take a few minutes each day for
        recording data. The graphing and discussion should
        take 40-50 minutes once the data is collected. The
        entire activity could last one to two weeks, depending
        on how the class is divided.

        UV Meter
        Logbook or chart for data

        Learning Objective
        This activity will emphasize that harmful UV rays
        are present in any type of weather, not just when
        sunny. Students  should always be Sun Wise, even on
        a cloudy day. Assess student comprehension of this
        message by asking the class to make a list of the
        clothing they wore each day of the experiment. Ask
        them how they would change that behavior now,
        knowing that there were UV rays present, even on
        the cloudy days.
Divide the students into pairs or groups. Each pair
will take turns going outside to record the UV
intensity with the UV meter and the weather
conditions (sunny, cloudy, rainy, etc.) at approximately
the same time each day. Students may also use the
Sun Wise Web site,
uvindex.html, to retrieve current UV readings and
past UV data.

Students should record their findings in the logbook
or chart that you provide.

After all the data is recorded, instruct the students  to
graph and analyze the data.

Questions and Answers

1  What difference does the weather  make in the
   UV intensity of each day? The sun's UV rays are
   less affected by  the weather than many students
   would think.

2  On which days  are the sun's UV rays the most
   dangerous? The least? Why? UV rays on cloudy
   days, as well as sunny days, can cause damage
   to unprotected skin and eyes. UVB rays fluctuate
   with time of day and season. UVA  rays are
   consistent throughout the day and year and can
   pass through clouds.

Reflecting UV
Estimated Time
30 minutes

UV meter
Plastic bag (to protect the UV meter)
A large bowl, bucket, or dishpan
1 Ib. of sand
1 gallon of water
Aluminum foil (enough to line the bowl)

Learning Objective
The goal of this  activity is to demonstrate changes in
UV intensity by comparing UV readings from direct
sunlight and a variety of reflective surfaces. Assess
the prior knowledge of the students by asking them to
predict readings caused by the different surfaces and
why they selected those values. After the activity,
discuss their results. Compare their predictions with
their actual results.
Take students outside on a sunny day. Choose a location
that offers students proper shade coverage, but allows
you to place the experiment materials in direct sunlight.
Take a UV reading using the UV meter. Have students
record the UV reading in the appropriate space on the
chart provided, or one that they have constructed to
collect data. Use the UV meter in the scenarios listed,
and instruct the students to record the readings in the
appropriate spaces on their chart. Remember, the UV
meter is not waterproof. Don't forget to protect it with
the plastic bag.

UV Meter Scenarios
Take a reading with the UV meter facing down
toward the sand.

Take a reading with the UV meter facing up on the
sand simulating sunbathing.

Take a reading with the UV meter pointing toward
the bowl of water placed in the sun.

Take a reading with the UV meter pointing toward
the aluminum foil placed in the sun.

After your students have completed this experiment,
return to your classroom to discuss the findings.

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  Questions and Answers

  1  In which scenario was the UV intensity the
     greatest? What was the UV reading? Answers
     will vary.

  2  In which scenario was the UV intensity the least?
     What was the UV reading? Answers will vary.

  3  Which surface was most reflective? Which was
     least reflective? Why? Answers will vary.
  4  What are some similarities between your behavior
     in the sun and the scenarios you placed the UV
     meter in? What are some differences? The scenarios
                                                                               were designed to mimic our behavior in the sun.
                                                                               Differences would include the use of sunscreen,
                                                                               sunglasses, or protective clothing; the use of these
                                                                               items would add protection from the UV rays.

                                                                               List some additional scenarios you participate in;
                                                                               sitting inside a sun-filled room or car, for example.
                                                                               What do you think the UV intensity would be if the
                                                                               meter was placed in the same scenario? Try it out.
                                                                               The answers will vary depending on whether the
                                                                               windows are treated to block UV rays. Car
                                                                               windshields generally protect against UVA and
                                                                               UVB, while the side windows are not as protective.

Sun Wisdom

Action  Steps  for Sun Protection
While some exposure to sunlight can
be enjoyable, too much can be
dangerous. Overexposure to
ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight
can result in a painful sunburn. It
can also lead to more serious health
effects, including skin cancer,
premature aging of the skin, and
other skin disorders; cataracts and
other eye damage; and immune
system suppression. Children
particularly need sun protection
education, since unprotected exposure
to the sun during youth puts them at
an increased lifetime risk for skin

Be SunWise
Most people are not aware that skin
cancer, while largely preventable, is
the most common form of cancer in
the United States, with more than
one million cases reported annually.
By following a number of simple
steps, you can still enjoy your time
in the sun while protecting yourself
from overexposure. In cooperation
with a number of leading  public
health organizations, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) is  providing these action steps
to help you and your family be
"SunWise." Other than staying
indoors, no single step can fully
protect you from overexposure to
UV radiation, so use as many of the
following actions as possible.
Do Not Burn
Five or more sunburns double your
risk of developing skin cancer.

Avoid Sun Tanning
and Tanning Beds
UV light from tanning beds and the
sun causes skin cancer and
wrinkling. If you want to look like
you've been in the sun, consider
using a sunless self-tanning product,
but continue to use sunscreen with it.
Generously Apply Sunscreen
Generously apply sunscreen to all
exposed skin using a Sun Protection
Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that
provides broad-spectrum protection
from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and
ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply
every two hours, even on cloudy  days,
and after swimming or sweating.

Wear Protective Clothing
Wear protective clothing, such as a
long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-
brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when
Seek Shade
Seek shade when appropriate, remem-
bering that the sun's UV rays are
strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use Extra Caution
Near Water, Snow, and Sand
Water, snow, and sand reflect the
damaging  rays of the sun, which can
increase your chance of sunburn.

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's
rays.  Developed by the National
Weather Service and EPA, the  UV
Index is issued daily nationwide.

Get Vitamin D Safely
Get Vitamin D safely through a diet
that includes vitamin supplements
and foods fortified with Vitamin D.
Don't seek the sun.
Early detection of melanoma can
save your life. Carefully examine
ALL of your skin once a month. A
new or changing mole in an adult
should be evaluated by a


Health Effects of Sun  Overexposure
Since the appearance of an "ozone
hole" over the Antarctic in the 1980s,
Americans have become aware of the
health threats posed by depletion of
stratospheric ozone, which protects
the Earth from the sun's harmful
ultraviolet (UV) rays. This fact sheet
provides a quick overview of the
major health problems linked to
overexposure to  UV radiation:
• Skin cancer (melanoma and

• Premature aging of the skin and
  other  skin problems

• Cataracts and other eye damage
• Immune system suppression

Understanding these risks and
taking a few sensible precautions
will help you enjoy the sun while
lowering your chances of sun-related
health problems later in life.
Skin Cancer
One in five Americans will develop
skin cancer in their lifetime, and one
American dies every hour from this
devastating  disease. Medical
research is helping us understand
the causes and effects of skin cancer.
Many health and education groups
are working to reduce the incidence
of this disease, of which more than
1 million cases have been predicted
for next year alone, according to The
American Cancer Society.

Melanoma, the most serious form of
skin cancer, is also one of the fastest
growing types of cancer in the
United States. Many dermatologists
believe there may be a link between
childhood sunburns and melanoma
later in life. Melanoma cases in this
country have more than doubled in
the past two decades, and the rise is
expected to continue.

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers
Nonmelanoma skin cancers are
generally less deadly than
melanomas. Nevertheless, left
untreated, they can spread, causing
disfigurement and more serious
health problems. More than
1 million Americans will develop
nonmelanoma skin cancer next year,
while more than 1,900 will die from
the disease compared to more than
7,800 people who will die from
melanomas of the skin. There are
two primary types of nonmelanoma
skin cancers.
Basal Cell Carcinomas are the most
common type of skin cancer tumors.
They usually appear as small, fleshy
bumps or nodules on the head and
neck, but can occur on other skin
areas. Basal cell carcinoma grows
slowly, and rarely spreads to other
parts of the body. It can, however,
penetrate to the bone and cause
considerable damage.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas are
tumors that may appear as nodules
or as red, scaly patches. This cancer
can develop into large masses, and
unlike basal cell carcinoma, it can
spread to other parts of the body.
These two cancers have a cure rate
as high as 95 percent if detected and
treated early. The key is to watch for
signs and seek medical treatment.

Other Skin Damage
Other UV-related skin disorders
include actinic keratoses and
premature aging of the skin. Actinic
keratoses are  skin growths that
occur on body areas exposed to the
sun. The face, hands,  forearms, and
the "V" of the  neck are especially
susceptible to this type of lesion.

Although premalignant, actinic
keratoses are a risk factor for
squamous cell carcinoma. Look
for raised, reddish, rough-textured
growths and seek prompt medical
attention if you discover them.
Chronic overexposure  to the sun also
causes premature aging, which
over time can make the skin become
wrinkled, thick, and leathery. Since it
occurs gradually, often manifesting
itself many years after the majority of
a person's sun exposure, premature
aging is often regarded as an
unavoidable, normal part of growing
older. Up to 90 percent of visible
changes to the skin commonly thought
to be caused by aging are actually
caused by sun exposure. With proper
protection from UV radiation,
however, most premature aging of the
skin can be avoided.

Cataracts and Other Eye Damage
Cataracts are a form  of eye damage in
which a loss of transparency in the
lens of the eye clouds vision. If left
untreated, cataracts can lead to
blindness. Research has shown that
UV radiation increases the likelihood
of certain cataracts. Although curable
with modern eye surgery, cataracts
diminish the eyesight of millions of
Americans and  cost billions of dollars
in medical care  each year. Other kinds
of eye damage include pterygium
(tissue growth that can block vision),
skin cancer around the eyes, and
degeneration of the macula (the part of
the retina where visual perception is
most acute). All of these problems can
be lessened with proper eye protection.
Immune Suppression
Scientists have found that
overexposure to UV radiation may
suppress proper functioning of the
body's immune system and the skin's
natural defenses. All people, regard-
less of skin color, may be vulnerable
to effects, including impaired
response to immunization and an
increased sensitivity to sunlight that
may result from interactions with
certain medications.
EPA's SunWise Program
In response to the serious public
health threat posed by overexposure to
UV radiation, EPA is working with
schools and communities across the
nation through the SunWise Program.
SunWise aims to teach children and
their caregivers how to protect them-
selves from overexposure to the sun.

Ozone Depletion
The ozone layer forms a thin shield
in the upper atmosphere, protecting
life on Earth from the sun's
ultraviolet (UV) rays. In the 1970s
and 1980s, scientists began
accumulating evidence that the ozone
layer was being depleted. Depletion of
the ozone layer results in increased
UV radiation reaching the Earth's
surface, which can lead to a greater
chance of overexposure to UV
radiation and the related health
effects of skin cancer, cataracts, and
immune system suppression.
What Is  Stratospheric Ozone?
Ozone is  a naturally occurring gas
that is found in two layers of the
atmosphere. In the layer
surrounding the Earth's  surface—the
troposphere—ground-level or "bad"
ozone is an air pollutant that is a
key ingredient of urban smog. The
troposphere extends up to  the
stratosphere, where "good" ozone
protects life on Earth by absorbing
most of the sun's UV rays.
Stratospheric ozone is most
concentrated between 6 and 30 miles
above the Earth's surface.
Ozone Depletion
Until recently, chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs) were used widely in industry
and elsewhere as refrigerants,
insulating foams, and solvents.
Strong winds carry CFCs into the
stratosphere in a process that can
take as long as 2 to 5 years. When
CFCs break down in the
stratosphere, they release chlorine,
which attacks ozone. Each chlorine
atom acts as a catalyst, repeatedly
combining with and breaking apart
as many as 100,000 ozone molecules
during its stratospheric life.
Other ozone-depleting substances
include the pesticide methyl
bromide, halons used in fire
extinguishers, and methyl chloroform
used in industrial processes.
What Is Being Done?
Countries around the world,
including the United  States, have
recognized the threats posed by
ozone depletion and adopted a treaty
called the Montreal Protocol to phase
out the production and use of ozone-
depleting substances.
How Ozone Depletion
Affects UV Levels
Scientists predict that ozone depletion
should peak between 2000 and 2010.
As international control measures
reduce the release of CFCs and other
ozone-depleting substances, natural
atmospheric processes should repair
the ozone layer to  1980 levels by the
latter half of the 21st century. Until
that time, we can expect increased
levels of UV radiation at the Earth's
surface. These increased UV levels
can lead to a greater risk of
overexposure to UV radiation and
related health effects.
EPA's SunWise Program
In response to  the serious public
health threat posed by exposure
to increased UV levels, EPA is
working with schools and
communities across the nation
through the SunWise Program.
SunWise aims to teach children and
their caregivers about ozone depletion,
UV radiation, and  how to protect
themselves from overexposure to
the sun.

 UV Radiation
The sun radiates energy over a broad
spectrum of wavelengths. Ultraviolet
(UV) radiation, which has a shorter
wavelength than either visible blue
or violet light, is responsible for
sunburn and other adverse health
effects (Diagram A). Fortunately for
life on Earth, our atmosphere's
stratospheric ozone layer shields us
from most UV radiation. What gets
through the ozone layer, however,
can cause the following problems,
particularly for people who spend
substantial time outdoors without
sun protection:
• Skin cancer

• Premature aging of the skin
• Suppression of the immune system

• Cataracts and other eye damage
Because of these serious health
effects, you should limit your
exposure to UV radiation and protect
yourself when outdoors.
Types of UV Radiation
Scientists classify UV radiation into
three types or bands—UVA, UVB,
and UVC:
UVA: Not absorbed by the ozone
UVB: Mostly absorbed by the
ozone layer, but some does reach
the Earth's surface.
UVC: Completely absorbed by
the ozone layer and oxygen in
the atmosphere.
UVA and UVB that reach the
Earth's surface contribute to the
serious health effects listed above.
UV Levels Depend on
a Number of Factors
The level of UV radiation that
reaches the Earth's surface can vary,
depending on many factors. Each of
the following factors can increase
your risk of UV radiation
overexposure and its consequent
health effects.
Stratospheric Ozone
The ozone layer absorbs most of the
sun's UV rays, but the amount of
absorption varies depending on
the time of year and other natural
phenomena. This absorption has also
decreased as the ozone layer
has thinned, due to the release of
ozone-depleting substances that
have been widely used in industry.

Time of Day
The sun is at its highest in the sky
around noon. At this time, the sun's
rays have the least distance to travel
through the atmosphere and UVB
levels are at their highest. In the
early morning and late afternoon,
the sun's rays pass through the
atmosphere at an angle and their
intensity is greatly reduced.

Time of Year
The sun's angle varies with the
seasons, causing the intensity of
UVB rays to change. UVB intensity
tends to be highest during the
summer months. The intensity of
UVA rays is relatively constant
throughout the year.

The sun's rays are strongest at
the equator, where the sun is most
directly overhead and UV rays must
travel the least distance through
the atmosphere (Diagram B).

Ozone also  is naturally thinner in
the tropics  compared to the mid and
high latitudes, so there is less ozone
to absorb the UV radiation as it
passes through the atmosphere. At
higher latitudes the sun is lower in
the sky, so UV rays must travel a
greater  distance through ozone-rich
portions of the atmosphere and, in
turn, expose those latitudes to less
UV radiation.
             UV intensity increases with altitude
             because there is less atmosphere to
             absorb the damaging rays. Thus,
             when you go to higher altitudes, your
             risk of overexposure increases.

             Weather Conditions
             Cloud cover reduces UVB levels, but
             not completely. Depending on the
             type and thickness of the cloud cover,
             it is possible to burn—and increase
             your risk for long-term skin and eye
             damage—on a cloudy day.
Some surfaces, such as snow, sand,
concrete, or water, can reflect much
of the UV radiation that reaches
them. Because of this reflection, UV
intensity can be deceptively high
even in shaded areas.
                                                                            Diagram B
                                 Diagram A
       Electromagnetic Spectrum
 Gamma /X-Rays / UV
  Rays/     /
Infrared\Microwavt\ Radio
	\      ^Vaves

                             7s toe UV Index?
Some exposure to sunlight can be
enjoyable; however, too much could
be dangerous. Overexposure to the
sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can
cause immediate effects, such as
sunburn, and long-term problems,
such as skin cancer and cataracts.
The UV Index, which was developed
by the National Weather Service and
EPA, provides important information
to help you plan your outdoor
activities to prevent overexposure to
the sun's rays.

The UV Index provides a daily
forecast of the expected risk of
overexposure to the sun. The Index
predicts UV intensity levels on a
scale of 1 to 11+, where 1 indicates a
low risk of overexposure and 11+
signifies an extreme risk. Calculated
on a next-day basis for every ZIP
Code across the United States, the
UV Index takes into account clouds
and other local conditions that affect
the amount of UV radiation reaching
the ground in different parts of the
                                                            UV Index
                                                          2 or less
                                                           3 to 5
                                                           6 to 7
                                                           8 to 10
                    Very High
SunWise Action Steps
By taking a few simple precautions
daily, you can greatly reduce your
risk of sun-related illnesses. To be
SunWise, consider taking the
following action steps daily:

• Do Not Burn
• Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning
• Generously Apply Sunscreen
• Wear Protective Clothing,
  Including a Hat, Sunglasses, and
  Full-Length Clothing

• Seek Shade
• Use Extra Caution Near Water,
  Snow, and Sand
• Watch for the UV Index

• Get Vitamin D Safely
Early detection of melanoma can
save your life. Carefully examine
ALL of your skin once  a month. A
new or changing mole  in an adult
should be evaluated by a

What is the UV Alert?
EPA issues a UV Alert  when the level
of solar UV radiation reaching your
local area is predicted to be unusually
intense for the time of year. The UV
Alert is a warning, and it offers
simple steps you can take to protect
yourself and your family. The UV
Alert consists of the SunWise action
steps and is posted by ZIP Code and
City, State at

What does the UV Alert mean?
The UV Alert is based on the UV
Index, which EPA provides with the
support of the National Weather
Service. EPA only issues a UV Alert
when the UV Index is predicted to be
6 or higher and unusually intense for
the time of year. In some parts of the
United States, the UV Index rarely or
never reaches this level, so your local
area may never receive a UV Alert.
UV Alert days are  not the only days
you need to protect yourself. EPA
recommends that you take the
SunWise action steps every day,
regardless of the season. Because
children typically spend more time
outdoors than adults, it is especially
important that children take these
steps. Even if you have darker skin,
EPA recommends that you act
SunWise to reduce your risk of skin
cancer, cataracts, and other UV-
related health problems.

Where can I find the UV Index and UV
Alert forecasts for my area?
You can find the UV Index and UV
Alert forecasts for your area in your
local newspaper, on television, and by
visiting EPA's SunWise Web site at Enter your ZIP
Code. The resulting UV forecast  will
indicate if there is a UV Alert.
The SunWise Web site will direct you
to EPA's EnviroFlash Web site, where
you can sign up to receive the daily
UV Index and occasional UV Alerts
directly by e-mail.
The National Weather Service is
currently offering a national UV Alert
map as an experimental product. The
map indicates which parts of the
country have a UV Alert forecast for
the coming day. Follow the link from
the SunWise Web site to the map.



AMC Cancer Research Center
1600 Pierce Street
Denver, CO 80124
(800) 321-1557

American Academy of Dermatology
930 North Meacham Road
P.O. Box 4014
Schaumberg, IL 60173-4965
(888) 462-DERM (462-3376)

American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Blvd.
P.O. Box 927
Elk Grove Village, IL 60009-0927

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education,
Recreation and  Dance
1900 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191
(703) 476-3437

American Cancer Society
1599 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329-4251
(800) 227-2345
American Meteorological Society
Station Scientist
1120 G Street, NW Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005-3826
(202) 737-9006
www.ametsoc. org/stationscientist/
American School Health Association
7263 State Route 43
P.O. Box 708
Kent, OH 44240
(330) 678-1601

Arizona Department of Health Services
Office of Environmental Health
150 N. 18th Avenue, Suite 430
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 364-3143

Canada's UV Index/Children's Sun Awareness Program
Meteorological Service of Canada
4905 Dufferin Street
Downsview, Ontario M3H 5T4
Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation
1600 Duke Street, Suite 500
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 227-2732
(703) 836-4412

Cancer Research UK
61 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PX

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
4770 Buford Highway
Chamblee, GA 30341
(770) 488-4751

Children's  Melanoma Prevention Foundation
10 Tupelo Drive
Hingham, MA 02045
(508) 960-9633

Coalition for Skin Cancer Prevention in Maryland
1211 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(401) 539-0872

Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign
P.O. Box 1179
New Hyde Park, NY 11040
(516) 352-4227
Melanoma Foundation New England
66 Commonwealth Ave.
Concord, MA 01746
(617) 232-1424

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Upper Atmosphere Research Program
300 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20546

National Cancer Institute
Building 31, Room 10A03
31 Center Drive, MSC 2580
Bethesda, MD 20892-2580
(800) 4CANCER (422-6237)

National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention

National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
(202) 482-3436

National Safety Council
Environmental Health Center
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20036
(800) 557-2366, #2                            44

National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22230
(703) 292-5111

National Weather Service
Climate Prediction Center
World Weather Building
5200 Auth Road
Camp Springs, MD 20746
(301) 763-8000

National Wildlife Federation
8925 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22184
(703) 790-4000

New York State Department of Health
Comprehensive Cancer Control
Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237
"Growing Up Healthy" hotline: (800) 522-5006
Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation
621 Clearwater Park Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 655-9655
Securite So la ire
25, rue Manin - 75019 Paris

SHADE Foundation of America
Curt and Shonda Schilling
Melanoma Foundation of America
Virginia G. Piper Center
10510 N. 92nd Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
(602) 595-4858

Sun Safety Alliance
413 North Lee Street
Alexandria, VA22314
(703) 837-4202

World Health Organization INTERSUN Programme
Department for the Protection of the Human
World Health Organization
1211 Geneva 27

Sierra Club
408 C Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 547-1141

The Skin Cancer Foundation
245 Fifth Avenue
Suite 1403
New York, NY 10016
(800) SKIN-490

SunSmart Programme
Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria
1 Rathdowne Street
Carlton, Victoria
Australia 3053
Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults
4725 Dorsey Hall Drive, Suite A
Ellicott City, MD 21042
(888) 393-FUND

The U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services
Office of Health Promotion
and Disease Prevention
Healthy People 2010
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201
(877) 696-6775

University of Colorado at Boulder
Science Discovery
Campus Box 408
Boulder, CO 80309
(303) 492-3748

Catch a Sunbeam
Adams, Florence. 1978.

Children's Guide to Sun Protection
American Cancer Society. 1990.

Fun for Everyone
Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria. SunSmart. 1994.
Sun-Safe School Guide
Arizona Cancer Center. 1997.
Choose Your Cover
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1998-2000.
Amazing Sun Fun Activities
Daley, Michael. 1998.
Sun Safe. A Sun Protection Curriculum
Dartmouth Medical School. 1999.
The Sun Safety Activity Guide
Environmental Health Center.
Sun Know How
Health Education Authority London. 1993.
Done in the Sun
Hillerman, Anne. 1983.

Le Guide du Soleil
La Securite Solaire. 1998.
Environmental Education Materials:
Guidelines for Excellence
North American Association for Environmental Education. 1996.

Sun  Lore
O'Hara, Gwydion. 1997.
A Blueprint for Community Action. Sun Alert America
The Skin Cancer Foundation. 1992.

Play it Safe in the Sun
The Skin Cancer Foundation. 1992-1996.

Sunny States of America Program
The Skin Cancer Foundation. 1998.

Ozone in Our Atmosphere
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. 1996.

Science Explorers
University of Colorado. 1999-2000.

coniaci  ITOI nation

Linda Rutsch
The Sun Wise Program, Director
Voice: (202) 343-9924, Fax: (202) 343-2338

Luke Hall-Jordan
The Sun Wise Program
Voice: (202) 343-9591, Fax: (202) 343-2338
hall-j ordan .luke@epa. go v

Kristinn Vazquez
The Sun Wise Program
Voice: (202) 343-9246, Fax: (202) 343-2338

To request multiple copies of EPA publications, call the publication clearinghouse at:
1 (800) 490-9198.

                                                                    Office of Air and Radiation (6205J)
                                                                               EPA 430-E-07-003
                                                                                     June 2007

Certificate of
               awarded to
    For learning about sunsational sun safety and

        the outstanding ozone layer
        a program that radiates good ideas