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Whitman Visits Honolulu School to Celebrate Children's Health Month

Release Date: 10/24/2002
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi

EPATeaches Sun Safety to Students

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman visited a fifth-grade class at a Hawai'i elementary school as part of her ongoing focus on Children's Health Month and bringing attention to health issues faced by children. During her visit to the Kuhio Elementary School in Honolulu, Whitman talked with the students about protecting children's health and creating healthier home environments.    

"The EPA is committed to making our air cleaner, our water purer, and our land better protected.  Informed actions taken every day by individual citizens are an important part of protecting the health of children, families and the environment," said Whitman.

Whitman introduced the Sun Wise program to teacher Eric Kam's students and answered questions about environmental issues. Sun Wise is 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.  Sun Wise 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.

"The EPA's Sun Wise program was designed with the goal of keeping our children   our future   healthy by giving them, their teachers and their parents the information they need about the dangerous effects of UV radiation," said Wayne Nastri, regional administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest office in San Francisco.

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 woven, loose-fitting, full length clothing; using SPF 15+ sunscreen; using UV-blocking sunglasses; and by simply seeking shade when outside.

More information on the EPA's children's health program is available at: .

For more information on the Sun Wise Program, see: .