Do sun­roofs in­crease your risk of skin can­cer?

Boston Herald - - CAR SM@RT - MOTORMOUTH By Bob We­ber

Q: I have been driv­ing my Chevro­let Tra­verse with a panoramic sun­roof for two years and have just had a basal cell car­ci­noma re­moved from the side of my nose. It was an ex­ten­sive pro­ce­dure and left me dis­fig­ured. I do not tan, so there is no ques­tion in my mind that it is a re­sult of three long trips out West in the mid­dle of the sum­mer with the sun hit­ting me di­rectly in this area. My ques­tion is, if it is sup­pos­edly com­mon knowl­edge that sun­roofs can cause skin can­cer, why are there no warn­ings to the con­sumer?

— A.B., Chicago A: We are not an author­ity on can­cer so we shared your ques­tion with Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety, who said: “There is ev­i­dence that sug­gests skin can­cers can be re­lated to long-term sun ex­po­sure through side glass win­dows in a car. Sun­roofs gen­er­ally of­fer more pro­tec­tion in or­der to de­crease heat en­ter­ing the car, so it is less likely that it had a role in a newly di­ag­nosed can­cer. Of course, an open sun­roof or side win­dow of­fers no pro­tec­tion what­so­ever.

“It is not pos­si­ble to state with cer­tainty whether any par­tic­u­lar can­cer is re­lated to th­ese types of ex­po­sures. Usu­ally, skin can­cers take decades to de­velop, so it is more likely that sun ex­po­sure dur­ing child­hood is a more sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor. And the dam­age caused by the sun ac­cu­mu­lates over time, mak­ing it even more dif­fi­cult to know with cer­tainty which ex­po­sure or which type of ex­po­sure may have had an im­pact. Based on avail­able in­for­ma­tion, how­ever, sun­roofs ap­pear to be a less likely cause, but not im­pos­si­ble. Also, dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers are now us­ing glass with dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties to de­crease UVA and UVB ex­po­sure in au­to­mo­biles, so that is an­other fac­tor that needs to be con­sid­ered.”

Q: Wife just traded her 2010 Prius for a Kia Niro in tour­ing trim. She mainly wanted all new safety fea­tures which could only be had with the tour­ing model with leather seats. I avoid leather be­cause it just doesn’t last well. Can you rec­om­mend leather care prod­ucts and in­ter­vals of use to ex­tend the life of the leather?

— J.C., Fort Laud­erdale, Fla. A: There are plenty of good leather con­di­tion­ers; many can be found in the ap­pear­ance care aisle of your lo­cal parts store or mega­mart. We shy away from prod­ucts that claim to be good on both real leather and man­made

ma­te­ri­als. Can they re­ally do dou­ble duty? We live in horse coun­try of Vir­ginia and most grooms around here use Lexol, so that is what we have been us­ing for many years with suc­cess.

Q: I have a 2011 Honda CR-V with 108,000 miles. Ap­prox­i­mately five months ago the “Check Fuel Cap” warn­ing came on. I checked the cap and it was on cor­rectly. The warn­ing comes and goes. While at the dealer for ser­vice I was told a di­ag­nos­tic check would be around $200. Do I keep on ig­nor­ing the warn­ing or press for re­call in­for­ma­tion from Honda?

— N.G., Mar­gate, Fla.

A: Good luck if you think they will is­sue a re­call. Make it easy on your­self — buy a new gas cap.

‘It is more likely that sun ex­po­sure dur­ing child­hood is a more sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor.’ — DR. J. LEONARD LICHTENFELD, Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety

Bob We­ber is a writer and me­chanic who be­came an ASE-cer­ti­fied Mas­ter Au­to­mo­bile Tech­ni­cian in 1976. He main­tains this sta­tus by seek­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion every five years. We­ber’s work ap­pears in pro­fes­sional trade mag­a­zines and other con­sumer pub­li­ca­tions. His writ­ing also ap­pears in au­to­mo­tive trade pub­li­ca­tions, Con­sumer Guide and Con­sumers Di­gest. Send ques­tions along with name and town to Motormouth, Rides, Chicago Tri­bune, 160 N. Stet­son Ave., Third Floor, Chicago, IL 60601 or motormouth.tri­bune@gmail.com.

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