Scientific evidence shows that overexposure to UV radiation is the major cause of skin cancer. To help people to know when UV radiation is at its highest and to protect themselves adequately, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched today the SunSmart Global UV App.
“The SunSmart Global UV App provides five-day UV and weather forecasts at searchable locations”, said Carla Drysdale, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO). While speaking today at a briefing at the United Nations in Geneva, Ms. Drysdale added that “it highlights time slots when sun protection is required and aims to help people around the world to know when to use sun protection, in an effort to reduce the global burden of skin cancer and UV-related eye damage”.
Developed by Australia’s Cancer Council Victoria and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the app is based on the UV Index, which indicates the level of solar UV radiation at the earth’s surface. The UV Index uses a scale of 1 (or Low) to 11 and higher (or Extreme). The higher the index value the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eyes and the less time it takes for harm to occur.
“Globally, it’s estimated that over 1,5 million cases of skin cancer, that’s melanoma and non-melanoma combined, were diagnosed globally in 2020”, Ms. Drysdale said. “During the same period, more than 120, 000 people across the world lost their lives to this highly preventable disease”.
Much of UV-related illness and death can be avoided through a set of simple prevention measures such as limit time in the midday sun, seek shade when UV rays are most intense and wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses as well as the use of sunscreen.
According to WMO’s spokesperson Clare Nullis “it’s now the period of the year when UV radiation is at its maximum in Europe, in the northern hemisphere”. She added “this is because of the position of the sun in the sky. There are other factors that do influence the amount of UV, which is the ground, clouds, the ozone layers, etc. etc. So, all of these elements are being added into this app which has been launched”.
The SunSmart Global UV app is available free of charge at both the Apple App and Google Play stores. It provides personalized options so that users can take actions to protect prolonged excessive UV exposure, a major cause of skin cancer and other UV relate diseases.