Check the UV Index to Stay Safe in the Sun: 106,000 New Skin Cancer Cases Estimated in the United States in 2021
WASHINGTON (May 28, 2021) — For the 13th year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), joined by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, is recognizing the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage Americans to protect their skin and eye health while enjoying the outdoors. One simple step is to download and use EPA’s free Ultraviolet (UV) Index app, which provides daily and hourly UV intensity forecasts by location and provides recommendations on how to be safe in the sun, in both English and Spanish.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 106,000 new cases of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, will occur in 2021 as a result of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. This is roughly 6,000 more estimated cases than in 2020.
“Before heading out into the sun, apply sunscreen and check the free UV Index app on your smartphone,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “On Don’t Fry Day and every day, the UV Index helps Americans prevent overexposure to UV radiation by providing simple tips to stay safe while enjoying time outdoors.”
EPA, the National Weather Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work together to make the UV Index forecast available in the United States. EPA’s UV index app (search for EPA’s UV Index in the iPhone App Store and on Google Play) lets you know the strength of the sun’s skin cancer-causing UV rays. The convenient app gives daily and hourly UV intensity forecasts for your location, provides recommendations on sun safety, and is also available in Spanish.
Though all people are equally at risk of eye damage and developing cataracts, some may be at greater risk of contracting skin cancer depending on the color of their skin, a history of blistering sunburns in early childhood, the presence of many moles, or a family history of skin cancer. Also, be aware that UV may be high throughout the year depending on factors such as location, elevation, and reflective surfaces. Reduce risk of skin cancer and eye damage by:
- Seeking shade when outside during mid-day hours when UV exposure is highest;
- Wearing clothing such as wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and sunglasses that protects our skin and eyes from UV rays;
- Generously applying SPF 15+ sunscreen, and reapplying often;
- Being aware that reflective water, snow, and sand intensify UV exposure;
- Avoiding tanning beds and minimizing sunbathing, and;
- Checking the UV Index.
Be sure to get the UV Index app on your smartphone , sign up for a daily UV Index forecast via email, or check the UV Index online at https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety