UV

Cool New EPA App…

uvbannerEPA has a cool new app for your smartphone…the UV forecast app.  The Ultraviolet (UV) Index provides a daily forecast of the UV radiation levels from the sun on a 1 – 11+ scale. Ozone layer depletion decreases our atmosphere’s natural protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.  Understanding these risks and taking a few sensible precautions will help you enjoy the sun while lowering your chances of sun-related health problems.

Find your UV forecast today!

http://www.epa.gov/enviro/mobile/

Wendy Dew is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8 in Denver, Colorado.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Ultraviolet Radiation: Bring Out The Suntan Lotion, But What About Your Eyes?

By James Young

I thought that I could see reasonably well when I went to renew my driver’s license in December, 2007, at age 74. When I took the vision test I could barely see the objects in the vision box. I had to have my eyes examined. I made an appointment, but before my appointment date I drove to a conference in Philadelphia, PA. When we arrived in Center City we were on the lookout for our hotel. My wife could read the marquee two blocks away and I could not make out the name. I had to have two surgeries; a macular hole in my retina was repaired first, followed by cataract surgery two years later. Maryland licenses are now good for five years. Supposed I had gotten my license a year earlier, blindness would not have been seen lurking down the road.

Most of us are aware of the harm that Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can do to the skin, but may not realize that it also harms the eyes. Approximately 20.5 million Americans age, 40 and older, have cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. What is a cataract? It is a condition in which there is gradual clouding of the eyes’ natural crystalline lens. This lens assists with focusing onto the retina, which communicates images to the brain. Cataract extractions are the most common surgical procedure performed in the US, accounting for more than two million procedures each year.

There are plenty of opportunities for overexposure of UV rays to the eyes in most outdoor activities. Without the wrap-around sunglasses and a hat/cap the UV rays could reach your eyes. Consider golf, tennis, boating, fishing, skiing, baseball, driving with your sunroof open or convertible top down. Without adequate protection, you increase your chances of developing cataracts.

I was fortunate to catch my cataract in time and pass this information on to my children and grandchildren so that they can start early–protecting their eyes from the harmful rays of the summer sun.

About the author: James T. Young was a chemist at NIH for thirteen years before ending up a program analyst in the Public Health Service his last twelve years of government service. He has enjoyed being a SEE employee since 1995.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Pick 5: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely!

Hey Pick 5’ers, it’s time again for you to share what you’ve done and how you did it. If you haven’t done it yet, Pick 5 for the Environment and then come back to comment. Today we cover action #9: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely! Please share your stories as comments below.

After surviving the biggest snow storm of the season, I had a lot of snow to clear. I cleared three, count ‘em three decks, plus a set of steps in between two of them. After a lot of time in the sunshine getting to know my snow shovel, I decided to call it a day. I was amazed to find out that I had sunburn across my nose and cheeks. I’ve always been aware of the UV index level. During the summer months I’ve always used sunscreen, but never thought I would need it during the winter. Boy was I wrong. After doing a little research, I realized that using sunscreen is critical whenever the sunshine is strong, not just when it’s hot outside.

I’ve never been a fan of cold weather and have always stayed inside during the winter months, so I’ve never given much thought to protecting myself from the sun when it’s cold out . So make sure you enjoy the sunshine safely, regardless of the season.

Don’t hesitate to share your other Pick 5 tips on how you save water , commute without polluting , save electricity , reduce, reuse, recycle , test your home for radon , how do you check your local air quality, use chemicals safely and eCycle!

Note: to ward off advertisers using our blog as a platform, we don’t allow specific product endorsements.  But feel free to suggest Web sites that review products, suggest types of products, and share your experiences using them!

About the author: Denise Owens has worked at EPA for over twenty years. She is currently working in the Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.