News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Ultraviolet radiation is a carcinogen

Kiwis reminded ultraviolet radiation is a carcinogen

SunSmart media release 2 February 2010

As we head into the second half of summer, Kiwis are being reminded that ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a carcinogen, and not to underestimate the risks of sunburn. Sunburn in childhood and adolescence is strongly linked to melanoma in adulthood.

“UVR was classified as a carcinogen to humans by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) last year,” says SunSmart’s Wayde Beckman.

“While the comments related particularly to sunbeds, they reinforce current recommendations by the World Health Organization to protect yourself from overexposure to the sun.”

Around 300 Kiwis die from skin cancer every year. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and melanoma rates in New Zealand are worryingly high – four times that of Canada, the US and the UK.

Wayde Beckman says New Zealanders are at high risk of melanoma for several reasons.

“We have higher UVR levels than countries in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s because in the Southern Hemisphere summer, UV rays have a shorter distance to travel to earth than they do in the Northern Hemisphere summer.

“Atmospheric protection over New Zealand also starts to decline in early summer as the ozone hole breaks up and drifts our way, letting through UVR. And our unpolluted skies give the rays a clear passage through to Earth.”

These factors, combined with our love of the outdoors, mean Kiwis have to be extremely vigilant about sun protection.

“As summer rolls by, it can be easy to become complacent – particularly in those parts of New Zealand that may not have seen much sun!

“But before you rush out to soak up the sun’s rays, remember that you can have fun in summer, and still protect yourself from sunburn.

“UVR is at its strongest between 11am and 4pm. Try to avoid the sun during these times and remember to follow the slip, slop, slap and wrap rules.

“Make sure you and your family wear sun protective gear, like a shirt with collar and long sleeves. Slip into the shade, slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears, slop on some 30+ SPF sunscreen, and wrap on a pair of sunglasses.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>

Floorball: NZ To Host World Cup Of Floorball In 2022

In a major coup for a minnow nation in the European-dominated sport of floorball, New Zealand has won the rights to host one of the sport’s marque international events. More>>

National Voyage Continues: Tuia 250 Ends

Tuia 250 has unleashed an unstoppable desire to keep moving forward and continue the kōrero about who we are, say the co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee, Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. More>>


Te Papa: New Chief Executive From Its Own Staff

Courtney Johnston has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Te Papa. Ms Johnston will take up the role in December 2019. Since its founding, Te Papa has had a dual leadership model, and as Tumu Whakarae|Chief Executive, Johnston will share the leadership with Kaihautū Dr Arapata Hakiwai. More>>


Over 150 Productions: NZ Fringe 2020 Has Launched

The upcoming festival will be held at 40 venues all over Wellington Region from 28 February to 21 March, and includes every genre possible—theatre, comedy, dance, music, clowning, cabaret, visual art, children’s shows and more! More>>





  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland