SportsTurf March 2011

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Facility&Operations Turf managers at A S THE GROWING SEA- SON APPROACHES, sports turf managers will be hard at work outdoors. Turf managers face many potential hazards in their line of work from machinery injuries to chemical exposures from fertilizers and pesti- cides. One danger that may not be as visible comes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. While turf managers rely on the sun for grass and plants to flourish, they often don’t realize too many of these invisible rays may damage their skin, lead- ing to skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, and suppression of the immune system. increased risk of skin cancer Editor’s note: Thanks to STMA Board member Jeff Fowler, Penn State extension office, and the Pennsylvania Cancer Control Consortium (PAC³) for supplying this article. Ingredients to look for on the sunscreen label to ensure broad- spectrum UV coverage include: • oxybenzone • octyl methoxycinnamate • cinoxate • sulisobenzone • octyl salicylate • menthyl anthranilate • titanium dioxide • zinc oxide • avobenzone (Parsol 1789) • ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) MELANOMA NEEDS EARLY DETECTION This year more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. Recent studies prove a link between sun- burn and increased risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. One person every hour dies from melanoma in the United States. The good news is that melanoma is highly cur- able if detected on the skin at an early stage. The risk of melanoma can be reduced by pro- tecting the skin from the sun and its harmful ultraviolet rays. Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays: ultraviolet A (UVA) rays and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVA rays (which pass through window glass) penetrate deeper into the dermis, the thickest layer of the skin. UVA rays can cause suppression of the immune system, which interferes with the immune system’s abil- ity to protect you against the development and spread of skin cancer. UVA exposure also is known to lead to signs of premature aging of the skin, such as wrinkling and age spots. The UVB rays are the sun’s burning rays (which are blocked by window glass) and are the primary cause of sunburn. A good way to remember it is that UVA rays are the aging rays and UVB rays are the burning rays. Excessive exposure to both forms of UV rays can lead to the develop- ment of skin cancer. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tan- ning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcino- gen (cancer-causing substance). MEN MORE AT RISK Men are more likely to die from melanoma most likely due to late detection. Common lo- cations where melanoma can develop include the back, arms, neck and shoulders. Women get more melanomas on their legs. Turf man- agers with years of outdoor sun exposure are more likely to develop a form of melanoma that occurs more commonly on the head and neck region. This type of melanoma can resem- ble a large, dark freckle with irregular borders. 18 SportsTurf | March 2011 The Melanoma International Foundation urges everyone to examine their skin regularly, and your loved ones, too. This means looking over your entire body including your back, your scalp, the soles of your feet, between your toes and the palms of your hands. If there are any changes in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, the development of a new mole, or any other unusual changes in the skin, see your primary care physician or a dermatolo- gist as soon as possible. WEAR LIGHT-COLORED CLOTHING Since turf managers spend a great deal of time working outdoors, it’s important for them to understand the many ways to protect their skin so that they can reduce their chances of de- veloping skin cancer. Clothing protection is most important in protecting the skin. Hats can protect the most vulnerable head and neck areas from the sun’s rays. While base- ball-type caps will protect the top of the head, they don’t protect other important areas includ- ing the ears, nose and neck. Turf managers should wear wide-brimmed hats. The recom- mendation is to wear a hat that has at least a 4- inch brim. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help protect the arms and legs. Wearing tightly woven lightweight and light-colored fab- ric can actually keep the body cooler in the sun and will protect against cancer-causing rays. There are many companies that manufacture high quality, sun-protective clothing. And there is a sun-protective solution by Rit Dye that you can wash into everyday clothing to make it pro- tective. CHOOSE WATERPROOF SUNSCREEN EVEN ON CLOUDY DAYS You should apply sunscreen every day to ex- posed skin—and not just if you are going to be in the sun. While UVB rays cannot penetrate glass windows, UVA rays can, leaving you prone to these damaging effects if unprotected. For days when you are going to be indoors, apply sunscreen on the areas not covered by clothing, such as the face and hands. Sunscreens can be applied under makeup, or alternatively, there are many cosmetic products available that contain sunscreens for daily use. Don’t reserve the use of sunscreen only for sunny days. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. Sun lotion illustration ©istockphoto/touc

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