News Release
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   July 20, 2001

Christine Grant

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg
Tom Slater


Commissioner Grant Urges Residents To Protect Themselves
From Dangers of the Sun

TRENTON - With millions of New Jerseyans enjoying the summer sun and outdoor activities, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant reminds citizens not to get too much of a good thing - that is, too much sun.

"Despite the many warnings that too much sun can lead to skin cancer, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey showed that less than one-third of adults consistently protect themselves properly," said Grant. "The same survey also showed that children are better protected - about half reported using sunscreen. The public must get serious about taking the proper precautions."

Overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays has been identified as a major factor in developing skin cancer, a condition that has been increasing over the last 20 years. The CDC estimates that more than 1 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in 2001 and will take the lives of about 9,800 people.

The Department of Health and Senior Services offer these suggestions to avoid too much exposure to the sun:

  • Use sunscreen that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply it generously before going outside. Don't forget to protect ears, lips, nose and the tops of the feet - areas that often are neglected. Reapply sunscreen after swimming, perspiring heavily or drying skin with a towel.

  • Avoid outdoor activities in the middle of the day - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. - when the sun's rays are strongest and most harmful. If you must be outdoors, seek areas where shade is available.

  • Wear clothing that will protect against the sun's rays. Long-sleeved shirts, long shorts and a hat are effective. Sunglasses can also be effective in protecting the eyes from ultraviolet rays.

Sun Protection/ADD1

  • Don't be fooled by cloudy or overcast days. The sun's ultraviolet rays aren't blocked by clouds; they are only partly filtered. It's important to protect yourself on cloudy and hazy days as well as clear days.

"Studies have shown that people who have been badly burned as a young person are at higher risk to contract skin cancer in their later years," said Grant. "Healthy habits for sun protection should begin as early as possible and continue through the adult years."

For more information about the Department of Health and Senior Services, see the department's web site at

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