- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 30, 2004

For safe and enjoyable top-down driving this summer, Mazda has launched a campaign to remind drivers that applying sunscreen for protection from the sun could be as important as buckling up before driving. To drive this point home, Mazda has begun distribution of windshield labels to each of its 700 dealers as part of a new year-round public-awareness campaign with the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The labels, which will be displayed prominently on all Mazda convertibles and sunroof-equipped vehicles, urge drivers to apply sunscreen when dropping their convertible tops or opening their sunroofs.

Mazda produces one convertible and five other vehicles offering sunroofs as options.

“Automakers make every effort to warn consumers about the proper use of safety belts, child restraints and air bags, so why not sunscreen?” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North America Organization. “Mazda is proud to build vehicles that are both fun to drive and designed to protect occupants in the unfortunate event of a collision, and we also think it’s important to be protected from the sun while enjoying the thrill of open-air motoring.”

According to Dr. Tom Rohrer, spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation and clinical associate professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, incidental sun on a daily basis adds up to many days of sun on an annual basis. Dr. Rohrer says cumulative exposure to the sun is one of the main factors causing skin damage. He recommends, as part of a healthy daily routine, the application of sunscreen rated at least SPF 15.

“Just 15 minutes per day exposed to the sun equates to 90 hours per year of incidental sun exposure,” Dr. Rohrer said. “The Skin Cancer Foundation welcomes this partnership with Mazda to deliver vital health information to the driving public.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only national and international nonprofit organization concerned solely with the world’s most common malignancy — cancer of the skin. For more information, visit the foundation’s Web site: www.skincancer.org.

In addition to using sunscreen before motoring in the sun, you can reduce your exposure to the sun by using a hat with a brim to protect your face, long-sleeve shirts or blouses and long pants to protect arms and legs, and UV-protective sunglasses to protect your eyes. Skin cancer can affect every age and ethnic group. Do not make the mistake of believing that if you have darker skin, you are protected from skin cancer.

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