Met office plans sunlight alerts to fight skin cancer

SUNLIGHT warnings may be issued with the Meteorological Office's weather forecasts in order to highlight the dangers of skin cancer, writes Steve Connor.

Government officials hope within a year to be able to issue forecasts for the intensity of ultraviolet radiation expected over a 24-hour period in different parts of the country.

The Department of the Environment is working with the Deparment of Health, the Met Office and the National Radiological Protection Board on producing computer predictions of UV radiation, which causes skin cancer and eye cataracts.

An official from the environment department said yesterday that the UV forecasts would be similar to air- quality warnings.

The incidence of skin cancer has risen dramatically over the past decade. The number of people with the most aggressive form of the cancer, malignant melanoma, has almost doubled. Deaths in England rose from 815 in 1981 to 1,091 in 1991.

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