Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Electromagnetic radiation as a cause of brain cancer

Australian Researcher: Phone Radiation is a Hotline to Brain Cancer, Sputnik News,   12.05.2015  A highly respected Australian doctor, currently in remission from brain cancer, is speaking out on his belief that radiation from wifi, cell phones and their towers is a major factor in increasing brain cancer rates.

radiation spectrum

 Dr. John Tickell is attempting to raise awareness and is calling for more funding for brain cancer research, as it has become the number one most deadly cancer for young people in Australia.  According to the Australian government, there are 35 new cases of the cancer discovered each week with four out of five cases being fatal in the first five years………..

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association is denying any detrimental health effects from their radiation, but the World Health Organization has recently upgraded the radiation threat to category B2, meaning “possibly carcinogenic.”

“You can say you can’t prove it — in my mind it is proven looking at the studies that are unfunded by industry,” he said.

The largest study to take place so far was conducted among 5000 cancer patients.  The study found that there was no increased risk of overall cancer, but cellphone use was linked to patients having a 40% increased likeliness of developing Glioma, a common type of brain cancer.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association is denying any detrimental health effects from their radiation, but the World Health Organization has recently upgraded the radiation threat to category B2, meaning “possibly carcinogenic.”

“You can say you can’t prove it — in my mind it is proven looking at the studies that are unfunded by industry,” he said.

The largest study to take place so far was conducted among 5000 cancer patients.  The study found that there was no increased risk of overall cancer, but cellphone use was linked to patients having a 40% increased likeliness of developing Glioma, a common type of brain cancer. http://sputniknews.com/science/20150512/1022019139.html#ixzz3ZxpkmsKt

May 13, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Medical warning on radiation risks in unnecessary CT scans

CT-scanLess is the new more: choosing medical tests and treatments wisely The Conversation,  A/Prof Clinical Epidemiology, Bond University; NHMRC Research Fellow at The University of Queensland Chris Del Mar Professor of Public Health at Bond University
29 April 2015  “……Not so long ago, getting an x-ray for acute back pain was the norm. Although it’s now known that they don’t help most cases, they are still used far more frequently than is necessary.

Acute non-specific low back pain is a very common problem that, most of the time, gets better without any treatment. We are not sure anything, except staying active, helps it resolve faster.

X-rays are only helpful to diagnose the rare causes of acute back pain such as cancer (spread from some other origin), infection (very rare nowadays), osteoporotic fractures in elderly folk, or exceptional narrowing of the spinal canal. Most of these have some clinical indications that doctors look out for.

X-rays not only have little to contribute, they have downsides too.

First, they detect problems that may not be relevant (such as disc-space narrowing) and can lead to more investigations, such as computed tomography (CT) scans. Rarely does anything detected from the x-rays or the further investigations contribute to the better management of the condition and resolve a person’s back pain faster.

Second, x-rays themselves are directly harmful: accumulated doses of radiation increase the risk of cancer. While the doses are very small for plain x-rays, they are much higher for CT scans…….

One move comes from government. Last week federal Health Minister Sussan Ley ordered a review of Medicare item numbers to prune away activities funded from the public purse that are useless.

Another initiative, launching in Australia this week, comes from the clinical professions themselves: the Choosing Wisely campaign. It aims to encourage a conversation between clinicians and patients about tests, treatments and procedures that may provide little or no value, and which may cause harm.

The Choosing Wisely campaign first launched in America in 2012 as collaboration between the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, Consumer Reports and nine medical speciality societies. Each society developed a list of five treatments, tests or services that were commonly provided but whose necessity should be questioned and discussed.

The campaign has expanded, with 70 societies now participating. Thirteen countries have adapted and implemented Choosing Wisely…….

These lists are not just for clinicians. As we recently wrote on The Conversation, our research showed most people overestimate the benefits and underestimate the harms of tests, screens and treatments.

These unrealistic and overly optimistic expectations often result in patients asking clinicians for tests and treatments. Some of these are unnecessary and will provide little, if any, benefit and may cause harm………http://theconversation.com/less-is-the-new-more-choosing-medical-tests-and-treatments-wisely-40756

May 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Choosing Wisely campaign warns on unnecessary radiation medical procedures

CT-scanUnnecessary tests: Choosing Wisely campaign targets brain scans, food allergy tests SMH, April 29, 2015   Harriet Alexander  Common medical procedures including brain scans, food allergy tests and long-term reflux medication are unnecessary and possibly harmful for many patients and should be radically reduced, doctors have warned.

Five of the peak specialty medical groups has identified 24 tests and treatments that physicians and patients should question in a national campaign that aims to influence treatment standards in hospitals and medical practices across Australia.

Each college or association has listed five examples, including tests that lead to false positives or expose patients to radiation without generating a useful diagnosis and treatments that new research has proved ineffective…….

The Australian College of Emergency Medicine’s immediate past president Sally McCarthy said 40 to 60 per cent of diagnostic tests were of little or no benefit to patients.

“It’s phenomenal, so it’s in everyone’s interests to not waste resources by diverting them to stuff that doesn’t need to be done,” Dr McCarthy said.

Most of the tests and treatments identified by the colleges were known to be ineffective, but junior doctors and nurses could be more prone to ordering unnecessary tests because they did not want to miss anything, she said……..

The Choosing Wisely campaign, co-ordinated by the not-for-profit organisation NPS MedicineWise, has been modelled on an initiative of the same name launched in the United States in 2012 and has since been adopted in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

NPS MedicineWise chief executive Lynn Weekes said few items on the list would be controversial among clinicians, but many recommended them anyway.

The aim of the campaign was to start a conversation.

“But doctors are careful, they’re worried that they’re going to be sued, they do practise a bit of defence medicine,” Dr Weekes said.

“It may be the system is putting pressures on them in terms of the way the hospital works that just makes this the easier route. So it’s a combination of factors.”………http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/unnecessary-tests-choosing-wisely-campaign-targets-brain-scans-food-allergy-tests-20150429-1mv8n3.html

April 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Dangers of UV radiation from backyard solariums

Backyard solariums creating a dangerous market, The Saturday Paper, MAX OPRAY FEB 28, 2015

A recent ban on commercial solariums has seen many turning to backyard operations, ignoring the cancer risk. “……On January 1 commercial solariums were banned in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, after a raft of studies confirmed indoor tanning was a particularly carcinogenic way to pass the time. According to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, sunbeds are responsible for an average of 43 melanoma-related deaths and 2572 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma every year in Australia.

Commercial use of these machines was banned, yet home use was left legal………

The Cancer Council strongly backs the ban, and in its position statement on solarium use cites a study published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2011 that, according to the council, found one in six melanomas in Australians aged 18-29 years “would be prevented if solariums were shut down”……. regular solarium users appeared six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 30, and that 16 per cent of melanoma cases of those aged 18-29 would be prevented by avoiding sunbed exposure. …..http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/health/2015/02/28/backyard-solariums-creating-dangerous-market/14250420001552#.VPDRw3yUcnk

February 28, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Is classroom exposure to electromagnetic radiation a danger to kids?

Something in the air By:   Elissa Lawrence Feb 15 Courier Mail

IT MAY be invisible but it’s everywhere — in our homes, parks, workplaces, shopping centres, hotels and schools.

radiation spectrum

Wi-fi has become a way of life — accepted, convenient and fundamental to how we live.

A type of electromagnetic radiation — the same as emitted from mobile phones — wi-fi, shorthand for “wireless fidelity”, is a means for computers, smart phones and other devices to wirelessly connect to the internet or communicate with each other. Data is transferred via radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) instead of through wires. Wi-fi has the same frequency and wavelength as the microwaves used in ovens, but is not contained within a closed unit, routers are usually permanently switched on, and they have a range of 30 metres or more.

The technology, which took hold in the early 2000s, is now widely seen as integral to education. All Queensland state schools have wi-fi access and there is a widespread rollout across schools of Bring Your Own Device schemes, starting in many primary schools from grade four.

But a growing body of researchers, educators and parents is concerned about the future effects of exposing children to long hours of wi-fi. In 2011, RF-EMF were classified by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a 2B carcinogen, or “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, Continue reading

February 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Australians ignoring the danger from UV radiation

UV-radiationSunburn cases continue to surge as Australians forget to slip, slop slap on the weekends SUE DUNLEVY NATIONAL HEALTH REPORTER NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA NETWORK FEBRUARY 03, 2015, COURIER MAIL, 

NEARLY 2.4 million Australians are ignoring the slip slop slap message and getting sunburnt on the weekend new research released by Cancer Council shows.

A 22 per cent surge in the number of Australians getting sunburnt was a wake-up call about the need for a new national skin cancer campaign the Cancer Council says.

The council’s National Sun Survey has found the number of sunburn cases was up by over 433,000 on the last survey four years ago.

Men are the worst offenders with 18 per cent getting sunburnt on the weekend compared to 12 per cent of women………

The failure of Aussies to protect themselves against the sun comes despite the fact we the melanoma capital of the world with more than 14,200 new cases a year.

Melanoma, which is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, kills over 1,500 Australians a year……..http://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/health/sunburn-cases-continue-to-surge-as-australians-forget-to-slip-slop-slap-on-the-weekends/story-fnihoylo-1227206866638?nk=12eb6391f5cbbe65f220fb12fca19ba4

February 4, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Health of Australians already threatened by global warming

heatAs shepherds watched, it got hotter and hotter December 24, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Human health – and that of other animals and even plants – is likely to become an ever more pressing public issue as temperatures rise with global warming, cities grow and populations age………

Until recently, public health authorities would issue a warning whenever the temperature was likely to exceed a certain level.

However, heatwaves are also related to the conditions people are accustomed to. To reflect that, the Bureau of Meteorology last year pioneered a heatwave service that predicts the severity of coming heatwaves based on both how far temperatures are likely to deviate from historical averages but also taking into account the previous month’s weather.

In a further tweak, the bureau has added charts to assess the impact of each heatwave after it’s hit. That’s needed because people often don’t realise the damage to health can come from exposure to prolonged warmth rather than a particular temperature spike. Continue reading

January 5, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, health, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australia’s high skin cancer rate: banning of tanning beds is welcome

Australia Launches Tanning-Bed Ban To Tackle High Cancer Rate http://www.ibtimes.com/australia-launches-tanning-bed-ban-tackle-high-cancer-rates-1770926 1 Jan 15 By   @ShuanSim s.sim@ibtimes.com on December 31 2014 Indoor tanning fans in Australia will soon have to go outdoors for a golden skin tone after their tanning beds are switched off because of a nationwide ban taking effect on Thursday. The ban, which the government has been planning since October 2013, is part of an ongoing effort to tackle the country’s skin cancer rate, one of the highest in the world.

The crackdown on tanning beds will take effect in five of Australia’s six states, and one of two territories –  New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. Western Australia said it will also ban tanning beds, but hasn’t announced a start date. The legislation does not affect the Northern Territory because there are no commercial tanning bed facilities in that part of the country.

Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, affecting two out of three Australians by the age of 70. Continue reading

January 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

The deadly effects of lingering hole in the ozone layer

The ozone hole is ‘rewriting’ Earth’s ecosystems, THE AUSTRALIAN  JONATHAN LEAKE THE TIMES DECEMBER 22, 2014 
 THE ozone hole over Antarctica caused by humanity’s toxic chemical emissions remains as large as ever and is “rewriting” entire ecosystems across Australia, Antarc­tica and South America, scientists have found…….The chemicals were banned but have lingered; the hole forms every year, ­allowing deadly radiation to reach Earth. The ozone hole is one factor behind Australia’s surging skin cancer rates.
diagram-ozone-depletion

Australian scientists have now found the radiation is having much wider effects. “Ecosystem impacts documented so far include changes to growth rates of South American and New Zealand trees, decreased growth of Antarctic mosses and changing biodiversity in Antarctic lakes,” say Sharon Robinson, of Wollongong University in NSW, and David Erickson, from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Because it is no longer absorbing UV light, the stratosphere has cooled, which is reducing air pressure over the South Pole and sucking the southern jetstream southwards, along with its associated weather systems.

That has helped cool the Antarctic and direct more extreme weather towards Australia.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-ozone-hole-is-rewriting-earths-ecosystems/story-fnb64oi6-1227163700598

December 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Benefits and harms of ultraviolet radiation

How to protect your skin while getting enough vitamin D , The Conversation 3 December 2014,  Terry Slevin Honorary Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Curtin University; Education & Research Director, Cancer Council WA; Chair of the Occupational and Environmental Cancer Committee at Cancer Council Australia

radiation spectrum

“..….While limited dietary sources of vitamin D are available, exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the most effective source of vitamin D for the majority of the world’s population.

Vitamin D deficiency is unquestionably linked to compromised bone health. While levels of evidence vary, it is also associated with a wide range of other potential health problems.

On the other hand, excess UVR exposure is strongly linked to increasing risk of skin cancer.

To confuse the issue further, a recently published papersuggested sun exposure might help reduce blood pressure and influence heart disease risk. But not through vitamin D. This research is still in its early days, but it may be that some of the benefits previously ascribed to vitamin D occur through other mechanisms related to sun exposure…………

What should we do?
So what does make sense when it comes to sun exposure, skin cancer and vitamin D? The trick is, of course, getting the balance right and avoiding extremes, in one direction or the other.

Adjusting sun exposure according to the time of year and time of day is important. The UV Index will be in the extreme range in the middle of the day through most, if not all, of summer. So avoiding exposure for the few hours in the in the middle of summer days is smart. The World Health Organization recommends sun protection once the UV Index reaches or exceeds three……..

Depending on where you live, five minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun two to three times a week – and certainly avoiding any sun burning – is a helpful rule. But it’s best to keep the head, face and neck protected as they get lots of sun and are at highest skin cancer risk.

Terry Slevin is editor of Sun, Skin and Health, CSIRO Publishing. https:// theconversation.com/how-to- protect-your-skin-while- getting-enough-vitamin-d-34143

December 3, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

No testing of imported foodstuffs for radioactive contamination

plate-radiationWhy Don’t Australia and Europe Test Food for Radiation Contamination from Fukushima and Chernobyl? Living Safe,  Nicole Moir, 8 Nov 14, I am bringing this important issue to the forefront over and over again as I want, as do many others, for the Australian and European government to take steps to protect us from radiation in food and raw ingredients. I have spent the last few months researching into food and raw ingredients, especially certified organic products, grown and harvested from regions affected by radiation by the two huge and tragic accidents of both Chernobyl and Fukushima. Unbelievably it seems the official organic certification bodies in both Australia and Europe don’t test food and raw ingredients for radiation, but trustingly and surprisingly,

rely on the government bodies to advise them in this area and in Australia ARPANSA the government body doesn’t feel there is enough of a risk to warrant it! Radiation contamination takes hundreds of years to dissipate and not just a few years, as is the case with Fukushima and a couple decades as is the case with Chernobyl…..

The ACO pointed me in the direction of ARPANSA- Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, see my prior correspondence with them here.  

Did you know that ARPANSA stopped testing ALL products from Japan in January 2014 and yet the contamination is spreading across the Pacific and the leak is not contained?……

a reply letter from the European Commission Unit F4.2. ………….was even more worrying, as they admit they don’t conduct regular testing, yet they admit that  in the last few years they were notified of higher than acceptable levels of radiation is some wild foods grown in Italy and the Ukraine/Belarus.  I knew this as I had seen articles in newspapers of radiation in certified organic blueberry jam made in Italy from imported ingredients and also high radiation in wild mushrooms imported into Switzerland.……….

Correspondence  with ARPANSA and European Commission are included in this article

http://www.livingsafe.com.au/blog/291-why-are-australia-and-europe-not-testing-foods-for-radiation-contamination-from-fukushima-and-chernobyl

November 8, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, health | Leave a comment

Project to document the health effects from atomic bomb testing in South Australia

Uranium the Silent Killer By Hilary Tyler

    http://www.pozible.com/project/187985   The story of the project   At the ANFA (Australia ANFANuclear Free Alliance) meeting in Oct 2014 Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s.   See https://ausnukefreealliance.wordpress.com for the meeting statement.

First Nations people along with the rest of the population from the southern regions of Australia were subject to horrific fallout from atomic testing carried out in these remote areas.
Permission was never sort from the Aboriginal nations.
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we’re all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It’s still around.” Sue Coleman-Haseldine (Kokatha Mula – Ceduna)
From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites.
In November 2014 there will be a 3 week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna, and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fall out and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.

The project will meet with people and family members who remained in the vicinity of the testing who were exposed to the immediate effects of radiological poison; people who were transmigrated from their homelands under duress to missions including Yalata in the south west of the state and people who suffer intergenerational impacts first hand at the expense of the atomic tests.

Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.

For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see http://www.icanw.org/au/

Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.

“I’ve lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.”
Aunty Martha – Arabana (Lake Eyre) Contact us at:  uraniumthesilentkiller@gmail.com

November 6, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, ACTION, health, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive Strontium-90 was found in secret testing of over 20,000 Australian corpses

strontium 90British scientists tested dead Australians for nuclear radiation, Australian Times.co.uk  Startling evidence that British scientists secretly tested up to 21,830 dead young Australians, without the knowledge of their parents, for radiation contamination following nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s. By  on 1 September, 2014 Dead Australians were tested for nuclear radiation contamination following nuclear tests, according to a new book.

The author of Maralinga, Frank Walker, laid his hands on minutes of a top secret UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment meeting in England on 24 May 1957 approving a program to determine the long-term effects of the tests on Australia and its citizens.

In his book, Walker describes how officials at the meeting, chaired by Professor Ernest Titterton, decided to first obtain soil samples from pasture regions near Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to check for fallout from the nine nuclear bombs detonated at Maralinga in the Australian Outback and the Monte Bello Islands, off WA.

The group also sought to collect animal bones from the regions around where the nuclear explosions were carried out.

In the document, the professor says that the final phase of testing would be to determine if Strontium-90 was being absorbed by the Australian population – most likely through the food chain.

“We have to find out if Strontium-90 is entering the food chain and getting into humans,” says the document. The scientists then agreed to start testing the bones of dead Australian infants and children for radiation contamination.

Acting on these orders, hundreds of bones from the bodies of 21,830 dead babies, infants, children, teenagers and young adults across Australia were collected without the knowledge of their parents, according to Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser.

In a 2001 report to then federal health minister, Michael Wooldridge, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency said it had detected varying levels of Strontium-90 in the bone ash samples it had collected from hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne………..http://www.australiantimes.co.uk/news/uk-australian-news/british-nuclear-tests-australia-maralinga-radiation-contamination.htm

September 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, history, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s climate denialist policies are causing depression

cartoon-climate-AustA climate of despair August 13, 2014  Senior Reporter for The Age “………If the term “climate depression” is new to you, it should be. No such condition is recognised by the world of psychiatry. There is no formalised syndrome. If there is a disorder of this kind, it has not been acknowledged by the medical community. Thornton herself wonders whether the moniker is misleading – whether “despair and disempowerment” might be better.

Yet no matter what the nomenclature (some refer to the problem as “ecoanxiety”, while others talk about “doomer depression” and “apocalypse fatigue”), despondency over a what many believe is societal failure to adequately acknowledge or address environmental issues has become a line of psychological inquiry.

Several experts suggest that the overall intersection of mental health and climate change is one we ignore at our peril.

Researchers have conducted extensive studies into increased “climate anxiety” levels and hyper-vigilance in communities formerly stricken by droughts and floods and bushfires. (One professor coined the term “solastalgia” to describe the “existential distress” felt by residents after a negative environmental change in the place they call home.)…….

Susie Burke, a senior psychologist with the Australian Psychological Society, has done extensive work on the mental impact of climate change………

Only last month, Burke made a presentation on mental health and the environment as part of the Climate Reality Project, hosted by former US vice-president Al Gore at Rod Laver Arena and attended by hundreds of committed by weary campaigners.

“We can be very sure that many people in the field of climate change are distressed – highly distressed – and it can have a significant psychosocial impact on their wellbeing,” Burke said. “If you’re feeling stress, anger, guilt, anxiousness or hopelessness, it has effects on your life. Depression becomes a real risk.”

Burke points out that disengagement – “switching off from the cause and becoming passive” – is an additional and bona fide concern for leaders within the green community, such is the crippling power of the threat perceived by people like Thornton, and the slow rate of change they observe.

“Think of the overwhelming evidence they have. And then imagine the retraction or repeal of important legislation, or the watering down of bills. Or the green light that was just given to the Carmichael open cut mine in Queensland – granted by the environment minister,” Burke says. “There is also some ‘vicarious distress’ that comes with knowing what is happening to people here and around the world as a result of climate change. It can have an effect on your well being.”………. : http://www.smh.com.au/national/a-climate-of-despair-20140813-102r1w.html#ixzz3AQfUIjvm

August 14, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

A sun smart school in Perth is tracking UV radiation

UV-radiationSt Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls the first in Australia to install UV meter http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/st-hildas-anglican-school-for-girls-the-first-in-australia-to-install-uv-meter/story-fnhocxo3-1226931735377 RACHEL NORMAN PERTHNOW MAY 16, 2014  ST Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls is now the most sunsmart school in Australia. The Mosman Park school has become the first in the country to install a meter that tracks ultraviolet radiation from the sun. If the meter hits level 3 or above, students have to cover up.

The move is an attempt to mitigate the prevalence of Australia’s most common form of cancer.

The Cancer Council says almost 77,000 skin cancer cases are treated each year in WA alone. Mark Strickland, the Cancer Council of WA’s SunSmart manager, said installation of the meter on the school’s junior campus was a positive step towards reducing skin cancer in the community.

“It has been shown that reducing lifetime UV radiation goes a long way to reducing the risk of skin cancer,” he said.

“A UV meter is another way of reminding people that the sun’s radiation in WA is strong enough that they need sun protection.

“It’s a silent but constant reminder of the ever-present need to cover up.”

Andrea McNally, the head of Junior School at St Hilda’s, said childhood was a particularly important time to recognise the need to seek shade and form good habits for the future.

“Having the visual prompt of the UV meter has taught the students that it’s not the heat that determines danger, but the UV index; and hopefully that will create a lifelong awareness and a change in their attitudes,” she said.

Data from the UV meter will also be used as part of the junior school curriculum, with students from year 1 currently monitoring and recording data every day.

Australia’s first public UV meter was installed at Deep Water Point in Melville last year.

There is also a Cancer Council meter at the Surfing WA club house at Trigg Beach.

St Hilda’s year 6 pupil Angelique Preau said she and her fellow students were paying close attention to the meter – regardless of the sort of day it was.

“When it gets to 7 or more it’s bad and you have to go into the shade and/or put sunscreen on,” the 11-year-old said.

May 27, 2014 Posted by | health, Western Australia | Leave a comment

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