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Whitman Visits San Juan Area School; Teaches Sun Safety to Puerto Rican Students

Release Date: 12/11/2002
Contact Information:
(#02131) SAN JUAN, P.R. – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman visited the Eleanor Roosevelt Community School to bring attention to environmental health issues faced by children. During her visit to the school, Whitman discussed SunWise, an environmental and health education program designed to teach children and their care givers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

"As we all know, kids would rather be outside than inside. But as much as you enjoy the outdoors, it's also important to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. Through SunWise you can learn some useful tips to stay healthy while enjoying the great outdoors," said Whitman.

Overexposure to UV radiation can cause serious health effects, including skin cancer and other skin disorders, cataracts and immune system suppression. It's estimated that most of the average person's lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18. By following a number of simple steps, people can still enjoy time spent outdoors while protecting themselves from overexposure to UV rays, such as: wearing a hat; wearing tightly wovern, loose-fitting, full length clothing; using SPF 15+ sunscreen; using UV-blocking sunglasses; and by simply seeking shade when outside.

SunWise is a partnership program with schools, which in turn sponsor classroom, school, and community activities that raise children's awareness of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation and simple sun care strategies.There are currently 4,850 schools in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC participating in the SunWise program.

EPA REGION 2 – Caribbean Environmental Protection Division, Brenda Reyes, 787-977-5801

EPA– Headquarters, Lina Younes, 202-569-008