The month of May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and landscapers need to be reminding crews that protecting skin should be a priority.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and it is most often caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Skin cancer affected more than two million people annually.
According to an article published by the Skin Cancer Foundation in 2013, in the past two decades there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of Hispanics with an incidence of melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
According to the Department of Labor, Latinos account for almost one in four workers in the construction industry. There are also more than 500,000 Hispanic workers in the landscape industry across the United States, as reported by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Outdoor workers spend hours out in the blazing sun each day. It is very important for those in the industry to not only be cautious with the heavy machinery that they operate daily, but to also place importance on personal health,” says Raul Berrios, president of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance and owner of RulyScapes.
The time of day during which the sun is considered most threatening is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For those who work outdoors and cannot avoid sun exposure, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer:
1. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
2. Wear a hat with a wide brim to cover your face, head, ears and neck
3. Wear sunglasses
4. Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, with both UVA and UVB protection