Learn about SunWise

The SunWise Program is a health and environmental education program that teaches children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun. Through the use of classroom, school, and community components, SunWise develops sustained sun-safe behaviors. Program participants receive free materials that facilitate cross-curricular learning about sun safety, UV radiation, and ozone science.

Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays during youth puts children at an increased lifetime risk for skin cancer. Overexposure to the sun can also lead to eye damage and immune system suppression. By educating ourselves and our children about UV-related health effects and steps for sun protection, we can ensure a healthy future for the next generation.

Who is participating?

  • SunWise schools and educational organizations: SunWise was launched in 2000 and is currently taught in over 32,000 schools and 6,000 other educational organizations in all 50 states, Washington DC, and U.S. territories.
  • SunWise communities: Cities, counties, and states across the U.S. have worked to promote the sun safety message in the broader community.
  • SunWise partnerships: To reinforce the sun safety message, SunWise partners with local and state health departments, academic institutions, informal education organizations, sports alliances, and non-profit sun protection foundations.
  • Don't Fry Day: Join the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and the SunWise program to encourage sun safety awareness on Don’t Fry Day, the Friday before Memorial Day.

What awards has SunWise received?

SunWise is the most widely-used health and environmental education program for sun safety designed for children ages 5-15. The program has demonstrated success in raising awareness and changing behaviors related to sun safety. SunWise has also been shown to prevent skin cancer and save public health costs (PDF) (4 pp. 405K, About PDF).

Awards received by the SunWise program

References Cited

  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2010. Available at http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-036845.pdf(PDF). (68 pp, 1.50MB, About PDF ) Exit EPA Disclaimer
  2. American Cancer Society. Skin Cancer Facts. Available at www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/SunandUVExposure/skin-cancer-facts . Exit EPA Disclaimer
  3. American Academy of Dermatology. Skin Cancer Fact Sheet. Available at www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_skincancer.html . Exit EPA Disclaimer
  4. Rigel, Darrell, Robert J. Friedman, M.D., Alfred W. Kopf, M.D. 1996. The Incidence of Malignant Melanoma in the United States: Issues as We Approach the 21st Century . Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 34(5), 839-847. May 1996. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  5. Oliveria, S.A., M Saraiya, A.C. Geller, M.K. Heneghan, C. Jorgensen. 2006. Sun Exposure and Risk of Melanoma . Archives of Disease in Childhood 91:131–138. doi: 10.1136/adc.2005.086918. Exit EPA Disclaimer

Has SunWise published any peer-reviewed articles?

Several published articles are available describing the health and economic benefits of the SunWise Program.

Is it really free? —and other frequently asked questions

Do you have a question about the SunWise Program? You can find the answers to some frequently asked questions here.