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Hannah Goldstein

Research Paper
Without proper protection, sun exposure can transform from a simple aspect of everyday
life to having fatal repercussions. Every day adolescents spend an abundance of time outdoors,
through athletic or extracurricular activities and leisure time. The suns UV radiation has been
observed through recent studies to play a major role in skin cancer development. Teaching
todays youth on implementing preventative habits, these methods can become an aspect of
everyday life thus reducing the onset of UV-induced damage that can result in Melanoma
development. Furthermore, continual education on these preventative habits and on atmospheric
conditions resulting in increased UV radiation levels, improved knowledge base and progress can
be made to further minimize the effects of Melanoma. Through education on skin cancer and UV
radiation, the importance of skin protection methods, and ozone layer depletion, the occurrence
of Melanoma and other skin cancers can be significantly reduced in the long-term.
The ozone layer protects earths surface from harmful solar radiation. However,
human actions have led to a decrease in the ozone layer. Even though the ozone layer fluctuates
depending on the month and time of year, during the past 35 years, the ozone layer has been
observed to be sustaining a constant thinning out that has in turn increased UV levels at the
earths surface.

Satellite imaging within the past 30-40 years has shown that the overall ozone layer has
been diminishing. Projects observing the Antarctic areas mapped the ozone layer to observe the
changes over time. In 1985 spring values of ozone over the Antarctic were observed to have
declined by 40% between 1974- 1984 (J. B. Kerr and C. T. McElroy). This data would later
become known to be the discovery of the Ozone Hole, which served as a basis for future
Ozone mapping projects and political decisions about human actions of the ozone depletion.
Due to Human actions in the late 80s and early 90s, more aerosols have entered Earths
atmosphere depleting the Ozone layer. The existence of aerosols and other airborne particles,
such as chlorofluorocarbons and Freon, which inhibit ozone separation was not known until
recent discovery. Chlorofluorocarbons deplete the ozone through processes by which bromine,
chlorine, and fluorine are all catalysts of breaking down ozone into its oxygen molecules
(Goldstein, Evan K. Personal Interview). The elements in these aerosols cause reactions with the
ozone which cause it to decompose back into oxygen molecules. With his discovery, nations
started to realize that they were essentially destroying the atmosphere through the usage of these
products. Therefore, during the year, 1987, 43 nations agreed to substantially decrease the
amount of chlorofluorocarbons used by 50% before 2000 by signing the Montreal Protocol.
(Space-based Observations of the Earth). The Montreal Protocol was signed with the hopes of
saving the atmosphere by decreasing the usage of chlorofluorocarbons. Despite this decision, the
effects of chlorofluorocarbons and other aerosols are still damaging the Ozone layer due to the
fact that the ban on earths surface doesnt affect the aerosols that already were released into the
atmosphere. Furthermore, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite measured the chlorine
monoxide levels in the stratosphere in 1991 demonstrated the direct link between the formation
of chlorine monoxide during the winter in the Southern Hemisphere and ozone depletion.

The Ozone Depletion within recent history has led to an increase in the amount of UV
radiation reaching Earths surface. During the 80s, satellites measuring UV radiation levels
reaching earth's surface, discovered that at 300 nm, where there is a relatively large amount of
absorption due to ozone, the data shows increases in radiation of 35% per year for winter and
6.7% per year for summer (J. B. Kerr and C. T. McElroy). With 300 nm being included in the
spectrum of light that is most damaging to human skin, there proved to be an increase in levels.
Decreased absorption of UV radiation by the ozone layer was observed; therefore, more UV
radiation was observed to be reaching earths surface.
Satellite imaging has discovered that ozone depletion within the past 30-40 years
has been directly influenced by human actions and the aerosols and particles that we expose to
the atmosphere. Despite efforts to decrease these exhausts, ozone depletion continues as a result
of harmful particles and aerosols that were already present in the atmosphere. Resulting from this
depletion, UV radiation from the sun has been observed to increasing. With less ozone to absorb
the UV radiation, more radiation reaches earths surface and causes an increase in damage.
Protecting the skin from any possible damage is most beneficial in preventing
Melanoma and other skin cancers. Various forms of skin protection are available and have been
proven to prevent further damage, but todays adolescents and young adults do not take these
practices these safety measures, and when these practices are followed, proper protection may
not be properly in use.
The primary method of preventing skin damage is a physical blocker, such as glasses,
clothing, hats, and other accessories that should be worn to prevent the UV radiation from even
reaching the skins surface. However, observations have led to the discovery that these protective

measure are not being practiced. Primarily, clothing such as long sleeved shirts provide coverage
of skin that will therefore prevent UV exposure; however, a study in Florida involving 2,086
students found that only 15.0% wore long-sleeve shirts during times where UV exposure was at a
high. Furthermore, the study found that only 32.0% wore sunglasses before leaving their home
for school (Hunter, Seft et al.). A majority of the students were not properly protecting their eyes
from UV exposure damage. In addition to clothes and glasses, hats provide protection to the
scalp and neck that would otherwise be subjected to daily UV exposure. However, in the study,
only 16.4% wore wide-brimmed hats when outside, but not in school (Hunter, Seft et al.). In each
of these cases, students were not properly covering their body, and therefore were exposing their
bodies to harmful radiation on a daily basis.
Following physical barriers to UV exposure, sunscreen and sun protection lotions, sprays,
and gels have been proven to prevent UV-induced damage. Despite this information, adolescents
do not wear sunscreen enough to prevent the damage. The 2006 Florida study found that a mere
32.8% of students reported wearing sunscreen, and a survey of elementary students from palm
Beach County, Florida found that only about 36% of non-Hispanic white students wore
sunscreen most of the time or at all times (Hunter, Seft et al., Julie S. Townsend, et al.) A
majority of the students in these studies not wearing sunscreen on a daily basis would result in
routine skin damage that could have otherwise been prevented if proper methods of protection
were in place.
Despite a majority of students not wearing sunscreen, those who do may not be actually
preventing possible damage. Recent studies have shown that some sunscreens may not provide
as much protection as prior beliefs, with only certain kinds of sunscreen being most effective. A
scientific study conducted by Stephen E. Ullrich found that UVA radiation is necessary for the

suppression of established immune reactions. UVA radiation has been proven to be a catalyst of
tumor suppressor genes being suppressed, and therefore increasing the risk of cancerous lesion
development. This confirmed the idea that a sunscreen that absorbs UVA radiation provides
complete immune protection. (Ullrich, Stephen E., Margaret L. Kripke, and Honnavara N)
Whereas sunscreens that provided protection against UVB radiation may not be as protective as
these products claim to be. Therefore, those who wear sunscreen must be aware of the
ingredients that actually protect skin from damage, and buying sunscreens that contain these
Sun protection methods, both physical and chemical based, have been available to the
public for use. Yet, when it comes to adolescents practicing measures to protect their skin,
observations have found that adolescents do not take precautionary measures to protect their
skin. Even those who do wear sunscreen and wear covering clothes may not be properly
protecting their skin due to recent discoveries on how types of UV radiation effect skin cells
through varying ways. Educating youth on recent evidence of protective measures can increase
the amount of adolescents and young adults protecting their skin.
Educating adolescents on recent discoveries on UV-induced damage and
Melanoma prevention practices will have a positive long-term influence on reducing the amount
of Melanoma cases reported annually. Due to significant lack of protection adolescents
experience and the significant time they spend outdoors, adolescents are the most influential
audience to implement evidence-based lessons on Melanoma and preventative measures that
should be taken.

During the formative years into adolescence, children and adolescents have shown to
spend the most time outdoors through sports or school activities, yet there is minimal education
on the dangers they face when outside. On average, young children are reported to spend an
average of 2.5- 3 hours outdoors daily (Dadlani, Chicky, and Seth J. Orlow). Without proper
protective methods, the sun exposure during this time can prove to become fatal. Because of the
immense amount of time children spend outdoors; protective measures must be taken in order to
reduce the chances of gene damage due to exposure. Statistically, approximately 25-50 percent
of a persons lifetime exposure is said to occur before 18-21 years of age (Dadlani, Chicky, and
Seth J. Orlow). Therefore, targeting children and teens will be most effective in reducing
Melanoma rates later on. Children and young adults are most influenced by UV induced skin
damage as a result from the excess amount of time spent outdoors. Into adulthood, the damage
that was sustained during adolescence can be influential in the chances of developing Melanoma,
therefore educating todays youth will in turn reduce Melanoma rates.
Primarily, youth education is essential because habits are formed during the developing
stages of childhood and adolescence. Therefore, sun protection habits learned from a young age
during these stages will increase the amount of people protecting their skin and in turn reduce
Melanoma rates. A study conducted in 2006 of third through fifth grade students in Florida,
found that only approximately 36% of Caucasian students used sunscreen a majority of the time
or all of the time that they spent outdoors (Julie S. Townsend, et al.). Even in the states where sun
exposure is at a maximum, children are not practicing sun-safety measures. However, this rate
can be increased with youth based education. Education can be important to affecting
adolescence actions from second or third grade. Studies have shown that children start to
differentiate between chance and controlled outcome and may begin to recognize their own

ability to affect their health by 8 years of age (Dadlani, Chicky, and Seth J. Orlow). Therefore,
educating children on the dangers of UV radiation will increase the likelihood of positive habits
forming. The proactive practices resulting in increased protection that can be implemented at a
young age will in turn reduce Melanoma rates. Furthermore, the repetition of these practices
from a young age decreases the likelihood of these habits to change as the child enters adulthood.
Preventative habits learned during a child's formative years are less resistant to change than
those acquired in adulthood (Dadlani, Chicky, and Seth J. Orlow). The habits formed prior to
adulthood are more likely to remain in ones daily routine due to less resistance. Habitual
practices being formed at a young age not only decrease childhood gene damage, but also
increase the chance of protective practices being continued into adulthood.
Education through evidence based methods has shown to be most effective, and therefore
this method should be utilized to teach students about Melanoma and environmental factors
contributing to the number of cases annually. Evidence based methods are educational lessons
taught using scientific evidence collected to educate on a topic. A program conducted in New
Mexico from 2006- 2009 analyzed an evidence based sun-safety education plan that was
implemented in 69 classrooms containing about 3,600 students. The study found that there were
positive changes between a pretest and posttest of the students knowledge, beliefs, and behavior
towards sun-safety (Julie S. Townsend, et al.). Adolescents had been observed to increase their
practices in sun-safety which would in turn protect themselves longer, showing the importance of
educating adolescents.
Education is the key to unlocking an improved future where Melanoma is no longer
killing thousands of people each year. Evidence based implementation processes contribute to
the regular preventative methods taken by todays adolescents by incorporating UV damage

education into the everyday lives of adolescents. Then, to further the importance of prevention,
education on the best protection methods and ozone layer depletion will enable more
developments in the knowledge base of Melanoma development. By incorporating education on
UV-induced Melanoma into the everyday lives of todays youth, Melanoma rates will decrease in
the long-term. Despite the fact that the effects of the implementation would be more long-term,
prevention now leads to saved lives later.