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Government’s Top Doctor Issues Wake-Up Call on Sun Exposure Risks

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For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The government’s top doctor’s urgent warning today is an important call to action to reduce the skyrocketing rates of skin cancer, EWG said in a statement. 

The warning comes one day after the House of Representatives passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act, which would bring better sunscreens to market and speed up the government’s review of promising new ingredients.

“It is encouraging to finally see Congress and the U.S. Surgeon General calling for immediate action to prevent skin cancer,” said Dave Andrews, Ph.D., EWG’s senior scientist. “The increasing rates of skin cancer and melanoma are extremely concerning and should be a public health priority.”

More than 2 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S, and it is estimated that in 2014 there will be roughly 140,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form. Melanoma rates in adults have tripled since the 1970’s and by 2015, it is expected that about 1 in every 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetimes.

EWG has been urging government action on this public health crisis for nearly a decade and has raised awareness of the risks associated with sun and UV overexposure with the annual release of EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens.

Last May, EWG teamed up with a number of leading sun-protection companies and dermatologists to encourage people to adopt sun-safe habits as part of the EWG Sun Safety Campaign. The campaign’s advice for consumers complements the Surgeon General’s message by highlighting sun safety guidance, tips on picking a safe and effective sunscreen and information on the hidden damage of ultraviolet rays.

“Consumers can reduce their risk of long-term skin damage and skin cancer by following the advice of the Surgeon General and by taking simple steps EWG has highlighted in its sunscreen reports and its sun safety campaign,” added Andrews. “The best defenses against getting too much ultraviolet radiation are avoiding indoor tanning beds, using protective clothing, seeking shade, minimizing time in the sun and using safer and more effective sunscreens.”