Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Scientific evidence shows that overexposure to UV radiation is the major cause of skin cancer. To help people protect themselves adequately, a consortium of UN agencies on Tuesday, launched an innovative new App that can help anyone, anywhere, determine the safe amount of time to stay outdoors, soaking up the rays.

The SunSmart Global UV App, is the collective brainchild of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

#SunSmart Global UN App launched at start of Northern hemisphere summer, when UV radiation is high.It combines meteorological, environmental and health expertise and gives location-specific UV and weather forecasts.Download it.Stay safe.— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) June 21, 2022

Five-day forecast

“The SunSmart Global UV App provides five-day UV and weather forecasts at searchable locations”, said Carla Drysdale, spokesperson for 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 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.

120,000 lives lost in 2020

“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 limiting time in the midday sun, seeking shade when UV rays are most intense, and wearing protective clothing, hats and sunglasses – as well as the use of sunscreen.

Useful for work and play

“This app combines meteorological, environmental and health expertise to help protect people from the sun both at work and in their leisure” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Tallas. It is unique because it uses data from country-level weather and UV measuring stations to provide accurate and location-specific UV Index readings… It is a great example of science serving society.”