Tasmanian schools should check UV alerts

17 February 2014

Tasmanian schools have been urged to check the daily Ultraviolet (UV) Index to protect children from harmful sun damage and possible skin cancer when they are older.

Cancer Council Tasmania CEO Penny Egan said the UV alert published in Tasmanian newspapers, and on the Bureau of Meteorology and CCT’s websites, was the best way to check when sun protection was needed.

“While 63 per cent of primary schools take part in our SunSmart schools program, only nine per cent use the UV alert,” Mrs Egan said

“Schools should access it every day to make sure they have the right protection guidelines for their staff and students. It is also a very useful educational tool.

“The daily UV alert has ratings from low at 1 to extreme on 14 and being outside when the UV is rated three or above can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer.

“The UV alert also provides the times of the day when we should slip on protective clothing, slop on sunscreen, slap on hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses.”

Cancer Council Tasmania today encouraged Tasmanian secondary schools to apply for a grant of $25,000 to install shade structures.

Mrs Egan said the funding came from a $1 million donation to Cancer Council Australia from eftpos and would help protect secondary students.

“We have made progress in helping to ensure children in primary schools are protected during their early years but when children get to secondary schools they are often reluctant to wear hats and sunscreen.

“We also know that providing shade can be an effective intervention for secondary schools.

“Melanoma is the most common cancer in Australians aged 12-24 years, with more than double the number of cases of any other kind of cancer

“Teenagers who are outside when UV levels are at their peak are at risk of developing skin cancer in the future.

“We know that if shade is provided students will use it.”

Mrs Egan said secondary schools had until 13 June to apply for the shade grant and more information can be found at www.cancer.org.au/shade

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