UV radiation causes 60,000 deaths a year

Jul 27, 2006

The World Health Organization based in Switzerland estimates 60,000 people die each year from spending too much time in the sun.

In a report on disease caused by ultraviolet radiation, the WHO says malignant melanoma is responsible for 48,000 deaths while other skin cancers cause the remaining 12,000 deaths, the BBC reports.

In addition to skin cancer, excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation is responsible for sunburn, premature aging of the skin and triggering cold sores.

Dr. Maria Neira, WHO director for Public Health and the Environment, says while everyone needs some sun, too much can be deadly.

"Fortunately, diseases from UV such as malignant melanomas, other skin cancers and cataracts are almost entirely preventable through simple protective measures," Neira says.

Recommendations for prevention include limiting time in the midday sun, wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen with a rating of 15 or above.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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