Wed, Sep 01, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Summer has almost gone, but the UV threat has not


Protection from ultraviolet radiation (UV) should be kept in mind not only during summer's dog days but also in the early fall, because monitoring stations around the nation have recorded 60 days of high-level UV in September over the last three years, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

"UV radiation in September remains as high as summer in July and August," said Hsiao Hui-chuan (蕭慧娟), director-general of the EPA's Bureau of Environmental Monitoring and Data Processing.

The UV Index is a calculation of the amount of ultraviolet light reaching the Earth's surface when the sun is highest in the sky on a given day. The higher the index, the more UV radiation damages the skin and eyes.

In Taiwan, the UV Index ranges from zero to 15. The administration defines UV levels between seven and nine as representing a very high risk to people exposed to sunlight without protection. UV levels exceeding 10 are considered to present an extreme risk.

Yesterday, extreme UV radiation levels were recorded by EPA stations in Hsinchu, Miaoli County's Sanyi Township, Changhua, Taitung and Tainan.

The EPA predicts dangerous UV levels will be found in eastern and southern parts of the nation today.

Hsiao predicted that UV radiation this month could be harmful and that the public should be alert.

"Senior citizens and children should avoid outdoor activities between 10am and 2pm in the summer," Hsiao said.

Tips for reducing exposure to UV radiation include wearing protective clothing, applying liberal amounts of sunscreen and staying in the shade as much as possible.

EPA officials said, however, that weather conditions affect people's exposure to UV radiation.

"UV radiation might be reduced by typhoons, clouds, afternoon rainfalls and other factors," said Shieh Ping-fei (謝炳輝), a section chief at the bureau.

Excessive sun exposure can lead to skin disease, Shieh said. To provide residents with more information about UV radiation, the EPA will begin measuring UV levels at a number of tourist attractions around the country.

EPA statistics also show that the frequency of dangerous UV radiation levels in October drops dramatically.

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