An urgent call has been made by international scientists panel consisting of 38 specialists, representing 32 universities and organizations all over the world, for an immediate update on safe sun exposure recommendations for the public, to curb global vitamin D deficiency epidemic.
“There is currently considerable misinformation and confusion in the public health sector regarding the effects of sun exposure on human health. The prevailing public health message is, and has been for the past several decades, that “over exposure” (undefined) to the sun causes skin cancer, including melanoma, and health benefits of sun exposure are limited to bone health. Since “over exposure” is not defined, the public is led to believe that sun exposure should be avoided and that avoidance of sun exposure is risk-free. The prevailing public health message also incorrectly states that vitamin D supplements are an adequate substitute for sun exposure. This public health message is potentially causing significant harm to public health and should be changed immediately.”
The Call to D*Action PDF document can be downloaded here
“Public health officials, such as the U.S.’s CDC, advise against “overexposure” when they should be specifically advising against sunburns. This combined with dubiously advising against moderate sun exposure and the incorrect assertion that tanned skin provides insignificant protection against sunburn may have contributed to this increase in melanoma incidence.”
“The public health directive regarding sun exposure and human health should be adjusted to reflect current scientific knowledge. We recommend a public health directive as follows:
All persons in the world regardless of skin color or latitude of residence, other than those with extraordinary sensitivity to sunlight, should get enough sun exposure to maintain a serum 25(OH)D level well over 20 ng/mL (desirably at 30–60 ng/mL) while taking care to avoid sunburn.”
Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to UVB rays and the amount of sun exposure necessary to produce it varies from person to person based on their skin tone, geographical location, season and age.