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EPA warning to Memorial Day vacationers: “Friday is don’t Fry Day”

Release Date: 05/21/2009
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543,

PHILADELPHIA (May 21, 2009) - - EPA’s SunWise Program and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention have designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day" - - to remind Americans to practice sun-safe behaviors on Memorial Day weekend and the rest of summer.

EPA recommends some simple ways to stay safe in the sun. Remember, Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap and plan activities out of the midday sun.
Slip on a shirt.
Slop on sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher).
Slap on a hat.
Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and sensitive skin around them from ultraviolet light.

“Any change in your skin, whether burned or slightly tanned, is a sign of ultraviolet radiation damage,” said Drusilla Hufford, director of EPA’s Stratospheric Protection Division and council co-chair. “The good news is you can protect yourself and your family members from too much sun, the main cause of skin cancer.”

Skin cancer is largely preventable. However, new cases of melanoma, the most deadly of skin cancers, continue to rise at a faster rate than the seven most common cancers. EPA's SunWise Program recognizes the important role parents play in protecting their children from too much sun. Sunburns in childhood are associated with an increased risk of developing melanoma.

Skin cancer from UV radiation is the most common of all cancers in the United States. More people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined. UV radiation is a carcinogen whether it comes from the sun or an artificial light source.

There is a misperception that people of color are not at risk of getting skin cancer. While the risk for people of color is not as high, skin cancer, including melanoma, affects all skin types. Skin cancer is often detected in people with darker skin after it is too late, so it is important that people of color are safe in the sun and see a doctor if anything changes on their skin.

EPA is encouraging schools to participate by pledging to incorporate sun safety into their activities. Through the website listed below, participating classrooms can receive a Don’t Fry Day poster and a classroom set of sun safety stickers. In addition, each classroom can enter a drawing for a SunWise classroom prize pack.

More information on Don’t Fry Day:
More information on EPA’s SunWise program:
More information on the Don’t Fry Day pledge: