Delhi sum­mers can cause skin can­cer

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

THINK TWICE be­fore go­ing out this sum­mer as re­cent data sug­gest that the ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) lev­els in most In­dian cities, in­clud­ing Delhi, can cause skin can­cer. The In­dian In­sti­tute of Trop­i­cal Me­te­o­rol­ogy (IITM), Pune, had set up a mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem in Delhi in May and found the UV in­dex to be some­where in the range of 6 to 9. UV in­dex of 0 to 4 is clas­si­fied as no risk cat­e­gory while 4-5 has low risk. If the UV in­dex reaches 5 to 7 range, it means it has medium health risk; and 7 to 10 car­ries high risk. Gufran Beig, chief pro­gramme sci­en­tist at IITM, says the rea­son for high UV in­dex may be that the sun is al­most ver­ti­cal in May. If tem­per­a­ture in­creases, UV rays will also in­crease. Ac­cord­ing to data from pri­vate weather for­cast­ing firm Ac­cuweather.com, UV in­dex touched 9 in Delhi, Ranchi, Hy­der­abad, Patna and sev­eral other cities on May 27. UV rays are of three types, A, B and C. UV-C gets fil­tered due to ozone layer while A and B reach Earth. "UV-A is ben­e­fi­cial for health but B be­comes dan­ger­ous when it crosses the limit. It causes sun­burns and can lead to skin can­cer and cataract," says Ab­dul Wadud of Ranchi-based Birsa Agri­cul­ture Univer­sity.

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