Monday, 14 January 2002: 9:30 AM
Overview of EPA's Sunwise School Program
Melanoma, the most fatal form of skin cancer, is rising at a faster rate than all but one cancer in the United States. Childhood exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light increases risk for skin cancer as an adult, thus early prevention may be key to developing positive sun protection habits. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Sunwise School Program combines teaching about sun protection with lessons on health and environment to facilitate sustained sun-safe behaviors among children. The program is designed for grades K-8. It is a collaborative effort of schools, communities, teachers, parents, health professionals, environmental groups, meteorologists, educational organizations, and others.
Participating schools sponsor classroom and school activities to raise children's awareness of stratospheric ozone depletion, the health risks from overexposure to the sun, as well as simple sun safety practices. Each school receives a classroom "Tool Kit" containing cross-curricular lessons, games, songs, puzzles, storybooks, and more. Schools can request a UV intensity measuring device allowing them to track and plot data and compare readings with the National Weather Service UV Index forecast. Sample sun safety policies and guidelines for teachers, parents, and administrators are also available in the Tool Kit. To date, over 500 schools have enrolled in the program.