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ADPH to award Title 1 schools with playground shade structures

ADPH putting shade structures on playgrounds
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 7:37 PM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As summer approaches and temperatures warm up, many people will spend more time outside under the sun’s intense rays. If you don’t protect yourself from those rays, it could mean trouble in the future.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says about 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer at some point, so it is warning about the dangers of overexposure to UVA and UVB rays from the sun.

It’s starting with the smallest and youngest people, who also happen to be quite vulnerable.

“They play so much outside: school, at home and a lot of times you’re more susceptible to being exposed to so much UV rays that it develops later on during adulthood,” said Lakita Hawes.

Hawes is a public health educator with the Cancer Prevention Division of ADPH.

“Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers yet an estimate of one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime,” she added.

The agency’s goal is to reduce the amount of sun exposure that kids get to prevent cancer development.

Hawes says if you take the time to tackle overexposure at a young age, you can possibly prevent skin cancer later on. This is the sole reason for their latest grant.

“Some of that funding we have set aside to award up to four schools for sun shade structures in order to be able to have a permanent covering over their existing playground,” said Hawes.

Over the past few years, Hawes says 21 Title One schools have received a shade structure.

With summer right around the corner, she says now is the time to learn sun safety.

In a news release, ADPH gave the following tips to protect your skin this summer:

· The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, Make sure it has UVA and UVB protection.

· Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going outside and remember to reapply after swimming.· Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect face, head, ears and neck.

· Wear sunglasses that are made to block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

· Limit exposure to the sun during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when UV rays are most intense.

· Seek shade when possible.

Each shade structure grant is valued at a maximum of $15,000 which includes the cost for a shade structure and installation. The number of awards depends on the availability of funding annually. The deadline to receive applications is June 30, 2022.

More information on the Shade Structure Program can be found here.

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