News sunscreen rules and how your shadow can help
Today the FDA issued new rules about sunscreen labeling. We are only a week away from the Summer Solstice. That is the astronomical "beginning" of summer and the day here in the northern hemisphere when the sun is at its highest in the sky. It's also when the sun is most intense and even a short time outside without any sunscreen can result in a nasty burn.
Long-term sun exposure can be dangerous for everyone, resulting in everything from skin cancer to increased risk of cataracts. There are risks for people of all color due to too much time in strong sun. In addition to using sunblock, here is a fun way of knowing when you have to be extra careful in the sun: Look at your shadow.
This is a figure I created years ago that shows you when your shadow is shorter than you are:
I created this before Daylight Saving Time changed to the second Sunday in March, so that big jump in the graph now occurs several weeks earlier. But have some fun with everyone. Measure and watch your shadow. Especially your children and grandchildren or your summer campers. This time of year you have to be outside a bit early in the morning or late in the day to have your shadow longer than you are tall. And in one week, at solar noon (1 p.m. EDT), the sun here in Washington will be almost 75 degrees high in the sky. So if you are 6 feet tall your shadow will only be only about 1.5 feet long.
Or have some fun take your children or grandchildren outside (remember the sunblock) and let them measure each others shadow. A 3-foot-tall child will have a shadow less than 1 foot long. Fun with shadows, but take care in the sun.