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SunSmart Global UV App helpful for protection from sun dangers
SunSmart Global UV mobile phone app – which provides localized information on ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels – is helpful in protection from sun dangers and promoting public health.
The new app has been launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The SunSmart Global UV app provides five-day UV and weather forecasts at searchable locations. It highlights time slots when sun protection is required with the aim of helping people around the world know when to use sun protection, in an effort to reduce the global burden of skin cancer and UV-related eye damage.
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 related diseases. The app allows the inclusion of national and local data streams and adaptation to multiple languages – it is currently available in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Dutch and Spanish.
“Evidence shows that overexposure to UV is the major cause of skin cancer. So it’s vital for people to know when and how to protect themselves,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. ”We encourage everyone to use the application to protect themselves and their children, and to make this a daily habit.”
Globally, it is estimated that over 1.5 million cases of skin cancer (melanoma and non-melanoma combined) were diagnosed globally in 2020. During the same period, more than 120,000 people across the world lost their lives to this highly preventable disease. One of the main factors contributing to these cancers is excess UV radiation from thinning of the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer resulting from the release of certain manmade chemicals.
Under the international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol, all UN Member States are phasing out the production and consumption of those substances according to a specific timetable. As a result of these continuing efforts, the ozone level is projected to recover by mid-century. In the meantime, individuals need to be particularly cautious to protect themselves from receiving too much UV exposure – this is where the UV app plays an important awareness role.
“The Montreal Protocol protects the stratospheric ozone layer which, in turn, protects human health and the environment by blocking most of sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth’s surface. Skin cancer can result from overexposure to the sun, so it is imperative for everyone to remain vigilant and ensure they protect themselves adequately with hats and sunscreen. The SunSmart App is a fantastic UV monitoring tool, and I would encourage everyone to use it,” advises Ms. Meg Seki, Executive Secretary of UNEP’s Ozone Secretariat.
Everyone needs some sun, mainly for the production of vitamin D which helps to prevent the development of bone diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis. But too much sun can be dangerous – and even deadly. The summer months hide real danger.
The UV App has been launched to coincide with the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. By increasing the public’s awareness and helping to reduce the incidence of skin cancer, this application ultimately supports the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, which aims to ensure healthy lives and well-being worldwide by 2030.