As Memorial Day approaches, the Environmental Protection Agency is telling citizens to stay out of the sun, or at least to put on some sunscreen lotion.

The agency has declared May 27 as “Don’t Fry Day” to remind people before the unofficial start of summer that too much sun exposure is bad for your health. The reasoning for the declaration couldn’t have been more clear. “Many people still do not realize that unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and other health problems,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Simple steps such as using sunscreen, putting on sunglasses or wearing a hat can protect us and our families, while still enjoying the great outdoors.”

While the idea of “Don’t Fry Day” sounds silly and even like a promotion from the health food industry, the reasoning behind the effort is simple. According to the EPA’s SunWise Program, melanoma is on the rise and is the most common cancer among young adults between the ages of 25 and 29. So if you plan to be out in the sun over the Memorial Day weekend or this summer, perhaps you should heed Uncle Sam’s advice and wear some sleeves or at least some sunscreen. If that suggestion isn’t motivation enough, perhaps the fear of cancer is. (While you’re at it, eat a salad; it’s good for you, too.)

Also on MNN: A guide to safe, effective sunscreens

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