Kitchener-Waterloo

The UV index is at 12 today. Here's why you need to limit to your exposure to the sun

With the Ultraviolet (UV) index at 12 today, Environment Canada is reminding residents of the danger associated with too much exposure to UV radiation.

'Wear big hats, clothes that cover your skin and put sunscreen on,' weather agency warns

Too much exposure to UV radiation from the sun can pose significant health risks, Environment Canada warns. (CBC)

With the Ultraviolet (UV) index at 12 today, Environment Canada is reminding residents of the danger associated with too much exposure to UV radiation.

Environment Canada meteorologist Gerald Cheng says if the UV index scale is between zero to two it's not a problem. Residents need to start protecting themselves once it gets above three, he says. 

"When you talk about the scale it goes up from zero to 11 plus, but today it's quite high for Kitchener-Waterloo, and it's even 12, so it's considered extreme if it's 11 plus," Cheng told CBC News.

"Wear big hats, clothes that cover your skin and put sunscreen on."

Cheng said these are the three main factors that affect the UV index:

  • The thickness of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere.
  • The angle of the sun above the horizon.
  • The amount of cloud cover.

"We are heading into summer … when the northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun. Being in southern Ontario, the more south you are, the higher the UV index could go," Cheng explained.

Health risks associated with prolonged exposure

Too much exposure to UV radiation from the sun can pose significant health risks.

"UV can cause sunburn, eye cataracts, skin aging and skin cancer, so we certainly want to protect ourselves from the UV rays," Cheng said.

"Spend less time in the sun, not necessarily no time."

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