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Sunwise Event at Cherokee Elementary School, Paradise Valley, Arizona

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Cherokee Elementary School
Paradise Valley, Arizona

March 26, 2003

Thank you for that welcome. It = s great to be here with you at Cherokee. I = m delighted to be here with Curt and Shonda Schilling. With just a week until the opening of the 2003 season, we = re pleased that Curt could be here today. He = s had a good spring training, a strong outing this past Saturday, and I was glad to learn he= s ready to go.

But as exciting as it is to have a great major league pitcher with us, it = s even more exciting to have a great major league advocate for smart sun health here today B Shonda Schilling. Shonda is out there pitching everyday to make sure kids and their parents and teachers know how to keep themselves safe in the sun.

Her work with the Shade Foundation is as important an assignment as pitching in the World Series, and I want to thank her for her commitment to this important effort. I know that here in Paradise Valley, your parents and teachers are all very interested in keeping kids safe from the harmful effects of the sun.

Of course, as we all know, kids would rather be outside than inside. I believe that one of the most important things kids can do to stay healthy is to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I love to be outside B whether playing tennis or golf or softball, riding my bike, kayaking, or just walking around my farm.

But as much as I enjoy being outside, I know that it = s also important to protect myself from the harmful rays of the sun. There = s an old saying that too much of a good thing isn = t good for you B and that = s true of sun exposure. So we have to take other steps to make sure we don = t get too much sun. After all, overexposure to the sun can cause more than just a few days of discomfort.

It can, over the long run, lead to skin cancer, vision problems, and other threats to your health. And the time in your life when you get your greatest exposure to the sun is right now B the first 18 years of your life.

That = s why it is so important that you take a few simple precautions to help prevent overexposure to the sun. First, wear a hat when you = re outside. Second, wear clothing that covers you up. Third, wear sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 rating. Fourth, wear sunglasses B the kind that block ultraviolet rays. Fifth, take advantage of the shade.

By doing these simple things, you will protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. And remember B even on cloudy days, you have to be careful, because the rays that cause sun damage come right through the clouds.

At EPA, we = ve developed a program called the Sun Wise School Program, which gives teachers and students more information about the things I = ve talked about today. The program also includes some fun and interesting activities you can do to learn more about this important issue. I = m going to make sure that your school receives enough of these kits for every classroom. Along with your parents and teachers I want you to be safe in the sun.

So enjoy the time you get to spend outside B after school and after you = ve finished your homework B and be sure to remember to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. Thank you.