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Sunwise School Program Receives Award from Federal Council on Skin Cancer Prevention

Release Date: 12/06/2002
Contact Information:

Dave Deegan 202-564-7839/

(12/06/02) On Dec. 5, EPA received the Federal Council on Skin Cancer Prevention’s Annual Achievement Award. The award, which recognizes a Federal agency or individual within an agency for outstanding skin cancer prevention efforts, acknowledged EPA’s SunWise School Program.

“We are honored that EPA’s SunWise program has been recognized by the Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. By teaching our children sun safe behaviors we can promote a healthy future for the next generation,” said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. “SunWise is an effective tool to help children learn about sun protection and develop an appreciation for the environment around them. SunWise Partner Schools are doing a tremendous job, and we are proud of the results in those partner schools,” she continued.

First launched nationally in May 2000, the SunWise School Program is an environmental and health education program. The program is designed to teach children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause serious health effects, including skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, half of all new cancers are skin cancers. Each year, more than one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S., with one American dying every hour from this disease. Educating children is of particular importance since most of the average person's lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18. SunWise is a partnership program with schools, which in turn sponsor classroom, school and community activities to raise children's awareness of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation and simple sun care strategies.

The SunWise School Program is currently open to all elementary and middle schools (grades K-8) in the United States. There are currently over 5000 schools in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. registered for the program. Registered schools receive a free SunWise Tool Kit with suggested classroom activities and materials designed for grades K-8, and is available in both English and in Spanish. The SunWise website has an online interactive database through which students may report UV measurements taken daily with hand-held UV meters, and compare them with UV Index forecast data for their zip code. More information on EPA’s SunWise program, including instructions how schools can register to participate, is available at: .