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July 27, 1994

Weather Forecast: Hot, Sunny—and Cover Up!

JAMA. 1994;272(4):258. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520040016007

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SUN WORSHIPERS in 58 US cities no longer need guess about avoiding overexposure to skin cancer—promoting ultraviolet (UV) light. The National Weather Service is testing a program whereby local weather reports include a daily solar warning index: the likely exposure to UV radiation at noon each day in specific locations. The service will eventually cover the United States.

The effort, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is in response to the increasing incidence in Americans of skin cancer, cataracts, and other harmful effects of too much sun.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 700 000 cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer will be diagnosed here this year (leading to 2300 deaths, although such cancers are highly treatable) and 32000 cases of malignant melanoma (leading to 6900 deaths).

Malignant melanoma, which occurs ten times as

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