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UV Awareness
Do you know that scientists believe that both UVA and UVB cause health problems – but the SPF numbers on sunscreens only rate UVB protection? Premature ageing of the skin, cataracts, immune suppression, skin cancer (including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma), and many symptoms of lupus can be attributed to both UVA rays and UVB rays. Currently, sunscreen SPF rating only measures how well it protects against UVB rays. However, the FDA is in the process of changing the SPF scheme to also include information about the level of UVA rays protection provided. Due to various delays the FDA has not yet completed publication of a new standard, so for now consumers need to make their own assessment of the level of UVA protection provided by a sunscreen. Do you understand the difference between UVA and UVB rays? Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a portion of the electromagnetic energy spectrum produced by the sun. It is commonly split into three bands: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC rays completely absorbed by ozone and oxygen, and does not reach the surface of Earth. UVB rays are mostly absorbed by ozone, although some reaches the Earth under normal conditions and even more will reach the surface because of ozone depletion (this is a huge issue in Australia). UVB rays are in cycles according to the time of day, season, latitude, altitude and so on. UVA rays are not significantly absorbed by ozone and pass through to the Earth’s surface. UVA rays do change due to time of year, latitude, etc., although not as much as UVB rays. To protect against UVA, you need to protect yourself year round regardless of where you live in the US.  SwimZip will help you with that. Do you know how much sunscreen you need for only ONE week of a family vacation? 6 to 12 standard 4 oz bottles! Most experts recommend using 1 oz of sunscreen (a shot glass) per application to cover an adult and reapplying it every 2 hours. A family of 2 adults and 2 children, in the sun for  6 hours per day (needing 3 applications of sunscreen), spending most of their time swimming, would need at least 2 bottles of sunscreen each day (using standard 4 oz bottle or tube).  For a 6 day vacation that same family would need at least 12 bottles or tubes. Do you know tanning salons cause severe skin damage and skin cancer? Do you know Americans spend at least three times as much money on tanning salons as they on sunscreens? Estimates of the size of the tanning salon industry vary from $2 billion to $9 billion (a huge range we agree). Even the low end of this range, $2 billion, is significantly greater than the $600 million spent on SPF 15 or higher sunscreens and sunblocks. Women are the main customers for both tanning salons and for sunscreen - young women are the most frequent customers at tanning salons and women of all ages use sunscreen significantly more than men. With this date, SwimZip is dedicated to educating adults and children about sun protection.
Do you know that normal summer clothing does not fully protect you against the sun? It is particularly true for people with very fair skin and for light weight summer clothing. In fact, a comprehensive analysis of the UV protection provided by regular summer clothing was published in BioMed Central in 2002. The scientists, led by Dr. Gambichler, tested 236 different garment fabrics. They found that fewer than half the fabrics analyzed provided as much protection as a SPF 30 sunscreen. They concluded it was difficult for sun sensitive consumers to choose the "right" garment unless garments were tested and labeled in accordance with appropriate standards. Do you know that in Australia, certified sun protective clothing is more popular than sunscreen? Australia has had significant public health issues with skin cancer. One result is that all clothing labeled “sun protective” is regulated by a Federal agency – this agency is similar to the EPA in the US. Almost 4 million garment hang tags with serial numbers are issued by a Federal government laboratory each year. The combination of ease of use and government certified protection has proven so popular in Australia that the market for sun protective clothing is now much bigger than the sunscreen market.  Do you think this will ever happen in the USA? Do you know that skin cancer can kill you? Many people believe that skin cancer is a relatively harmless disorder.  All you have to do is visit your doctor, have it removed, and life goes on with no problems.  However, approximately 10,000 Americans were killed by skin cancer last year. Approximately 8,000 of these deaths were from malignant melanoma, while the remaining 2,000 deaths mostly resulted from squamous cell carcinomas. The biggest danger is letting skin cancer go untreated – if you are not sure about a mole or freckle that has changed in some way – you should always make an appointment and have it examined by a physician.