Health Teachers need a lunch break from the sun

Teachers need a lunch break from the sun

Australian scientists are ringing the bell to alert Queensland teachers to adjust school lunch break times if they want to avoid skin cancer.

Changing school meal break times could reduce skin cancer risks for teachers by more than half, according to new University of Southern Queensland research.

By using a mathematical model to calculate the effect of playground duty times on solar ultraviolet radiation, PhD student Ben Dexter found that the risk of teachers developing keratinocyte skin cancers varied by up to 45 per cent between schools across the state.

Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and it is estimated two out of three people in Australia will get some form of skin cancer.

Mr Dexter said although teachers spend the majority of their working days indoors, they are required to spend time outdoors for playground and bus supervision duties, which coincide with peak UV radiation periods.

“We found the difference in exposure levels and skin cancer risk between schools based just on the opening, closing and supervision times varied significantly, not only throughout the entire state but within each of the seven education regions,” Mr Dexter said.

“It’s quite a concern, especially as this study only looked at teachers who were outside on breaks two times a week, but schoolchildren could potentially spend around 10 times as much time outside at school.”

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