in Hawai`i, do as the Hawaiians do: seek shade

melanoma rates in HI, click for larger view

Beach parks filled with local families are most noted for their shady spots, and folks bring their own (tents) if these spots are all taken.

Turns out, minimizing sun exposure is both an old practice and a new heads-up in the Hawaiian islands.

Why? A combination of holes in the ozone and other chemical interactions in the upper atmosphere are making Hawai`i a hot spot for sun-related health problems.

For example, Kauai's incidence rates of basal cell carcinoma are the highest yet documented in the United States.

Hawaii is the most UV-intense location on earth as it has the lowest ozone thickness values ever recorded outside the Antarctic zone, and overall ozone depletion is expected to continue into the next millennium.

Significant evidence suggests a correlation between UVR exposure and conjunctival pterygium, photokeratitis, climatic droplet keratopathy and cataracts. The incidence of skin cancer is also on the rise as a result of the increased amount of UVR reaching the earth secondary to the thinning ozone.

In Hawai`i, melanoma cancer incidence rates have risen dramatically among Caucasians (especially males) while remaining low in all other racial/ethnic groups. Approximately 180 new cases of melanoma of the skin are diagnosed in Hawai`i each year. On average, 17 Hawai`i residents will die from the disease.

Published by Ken on November 20th, 2006 tagged HI-specific, Island Vulnerabilities

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