26 September 2023

ARPANSA delivers app that saves skin

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The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is hoping to reduce skin cancer rates across the country by circulating a new free app.

Assistant Director, Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) and Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) Exposure Assessment at ARPANSA, Stuart Henderson said the new SunSmart Global UV app provided users with local UV forecasts.

Dr Henderson said he hoped checking the app would become a daily habit for users, much like remembering to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide and Shade’.

“Evidence shows personal habits in relation to sun exposure, including sunscreen use, clothing choice and time spent outdoors, are the most important individual risk factors for UV radiation damage,’ Dr Henderson said.

“The free app aims to reduce skin cancer rates, as well as UV-related eye and sun damage, by providing users with daily sun protection times and seven-day weather and UV forecasts specific to their location,” he said.

“The SunSmart Global UV app is an important resource that to inform and empower people to ensure they protect themselves during times of higher UV exposure.”

Dr Henderson said two out of three Australians would develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime, which equates to 2,000 deaths every year.

He said the disease was almost entirely preventable with effective sun protection.

“ARPANSA recommends that sun protection is used whenever the UV Index reaches 3 or above,” the Assistant Director said.

“As the UV Index regularly reaches Very High and Extreme levels through much of the year in Australia, having access to easy-to-use and timely information and alerts through the app will help people better protect themselves and their families from the harmful effects of sun exposure.”

Dr Henderson said app users could take the guesswork out of when to use sun protection by customising alerts for specific times or when sun protection was recommended.

ARPANSA’s SunSmart Global UV app is available through Apple and Google Play app stores.

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