Male D female

Source: From Mackie et al. 1992

malignant and usually fatal (Dotto and Schiff 1978). The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forecasts that 39 million more people than normal could contract skin cancer within the next century, leading to more than 800,000 additional deaths (Chase 1988).

Levels of skin cancer are currently rising among the white-skinned peoples of the world, but there is no direct evidence that the rise is linked to thinning ozone. Rather, it may be caused by lifestyle factors, such as the popularity of seaside holidays in sunny locations and fashion trends which encourage a 'healthy' tan. In Scotland, between 1979 and 1989, there was an 82 per cent increase in the occurrence of melanomas (Mackie et al. 1992) (see Figure 6.7), and similar values apply across most of northern Europe, an area not renowned for abundant sunshine and not particularly affected by thinning ozone until relatively recently. Rising skin cancer totals there may reflect the impact of exposure to higher levels of ultraviolet radiation on the beaches of southern Europe, which have become popular vacation spots for northerners. Since there is a time lag between exposure and the discovery of cancer, current increases may represent the results of cell damage initiated 1020 years ago. It also follows that, despite increasing attempts by health authorities to reduce public exposure to the sun, the rising level of skin cancers is likely to continue for some time to come.

The situation is particularly serious in Australia, where skin cancer is ten times more prevalent than in northern Europe (Concar 1992). Average summer receipts of UV-B have increased by 8 per cent since 1980 in southern Australia, and in New Zealand, the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth's surface is double that in Germany (Seckmeyer and

McKenzie 1992). Since the Antarctic ozone hole extends over the southern continents at the end of spring, the higher levels of ultraviolet radiation are probably associated with the thinner ozone at that time. However, that in itself is considered insufficient to explain the high rates of skin cancer. Epidemiologists continue to place most of the blame on social factors which encourage over-exposure to ultraviolet light, rather than on ozone thinning. The consensus among researchers is that the latter will only begin to contribute to skin cancer statistics in the second half of the 1990s (Concar 1992). To counter this, both the Australian and New Zealand governments have initiated campaigns to discourage exposure to the sun, by advocating the use of sunscreen lotions and wide-brimmed hats and by promoting a variety of behavioural changes that would keep people out of the sun during the high risk period around solar noon (Concar 1992; Seckmeyer and McKenzie 1992). A similar approach is being developed in Canada, but in the northern hemisphere concern over the dangers of excess ultraviolet radiation generally lags behind that in the south.

The attention paid to skin cancer has caused other effects to be overshadowed. Radiation, blindness and cataracts were early identified as potential problems (Dotto and Schiff 1978). More recently, damage to the human immune system has been postulated, and there is some evidence that ultraviolet light may be capable of activating the AIDS virus (Valerie et al. 1988).

Concentration on the direct effects of ozone

Figure 6.8 Schematic representation of the radiation and temperature changes accompanying the depletion of stratosphere ozone

Figure 6.8 Schematic representation of the radiation and temperature changes accompanying the depletion of stratosphere ozone depletion on people is not surprising or unexpected. Much more research into other biological effects is required, however. Human beings are an integral part of the earth/ atmosphere system and, as Dotto and Schiff (1978) suggest, humankind may experience the consequences of ozone depletion through its effects on plants, animals and climate. The impact would be less direct, but perhaps no less deadly.

How To Prevent Skin Cancer

How To Prevent Skin Cancer

Complete Guide to Preventing Skin Cancer. We all know enough to fear the name, just as we do the words tumor and malignant. But apart from that, most of us know very little at all about cancer, especially skin cancer in itself. If I were to ask you to tell me about skin cancer right now, what would you say? Apart from the fact that its a cancer on the skin, that is.

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