Friday, September 24, 2010

Kiwis remain at risk of sunburn in spring!

Daylight saving starts this Sunday and it’s a timely reminder we need to dig out our sunhats, wrap-up clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Spring is the time when many New Zealanders can unwittingly get sunburned, as Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) levels are rapidly rising but temperatures can be cool, even on sunny days. UVR from the sun, which is the cause of burning, is not related to heat or high temperatures. You can still get sunburned on a cool or cloudy day.

This makes New Zealand a challenging environment for sun protection because even on cool or cloudy days, the UVR levels can be strong enough to damage skin. UVR increases significantly across much of the country in spring.

A new international report details the success of worldwide efforts to protect the ozone layer - the shield that protects the Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays. The report concludes that as a result of the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances, under the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer outside the Polar Regions is projected to recover to its pre-1980 levels some time before the middle of this century.

But, the ozone layer will recover at different speeds, in different parts of the globe and a delayed recovery of Antarctic ozone has implications for New Zealand due to our proximity to the Antarctic. “Even if the ozone fully recovers worldwide the intensity of our UVR will continue to be much higher than at similar latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere,” says Dr Richard McKenzie, NIWA’s UVR scientist.

Dr Judith Galtry, the Cancer Society’s Skin Cancer Advisor, notes that, “while the report paints a hopeful picture globally, in terms of ozone layer repair, New Zealanders remain at high risk of sunburn and skin cancer. So it’s just as important as ever to adopt sun protection strategies, especially between 11am and 4pm or when the UV Index (which measures UVR levels) is 3 or above.”

The Cancer Society advises that between September and March, you should:
• Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible, hats that protect the face, ears and neck and wrap around sunglasses
• Use SPF 30+ water resistant sunscreen, and reapply every two hours especially after swimming or being in water
• Seek shade

Executive Summary of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010 Report (World
Meteorological Organization & United Nations Environment Programme, 16 September 2010)Key findings:
• Over the past decade, global ozone and ozone in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is not decreasing but is not yet increasing.
• As a result of the phase-out of ozone depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer outside the Polar Regions is projected to recover to its pre-1980 levels some time before the middle of this century. The recovery might be speeded up by greenhouse gas-induced cooling of the upper stratosphere.
• The springtime ozone hole over the Antarctic is expected to recover much later.
• The impact of the Antarctic ozone hole on surface climate is becoming evident, leading to important changes in surface temperature and wind patterns.
• It reaffirms at mid-latitudes, surface UVR has been almost constant over the last decade.
• In Antarctica large UV levels continue to be seen when the springtime ozone hole is large.

What is Ozone?
Ozone is found throughout the atmosphere, but most of it is in the higher atmosphere. Ozone acts like a giant shield against the sun’s harmful rays.

For further information:\
Daily forecasts of UVI are available for New Zealand locations at:
Or to find the forecast maximum Ultraviolet Index measure for your town:

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Bali launches historic campaign to eradicate rabies

WSPA funds efforts for island-wide vaccination programme

In a lead up to World Rabies Day, the Bali government has just signed an agreement authorising a mass vaccination campaign to inoculate nearly 400,000 dogs as an essential first step towards eradicating rabies from the island by 2012.

This first island-wide vaccination programme is being funded by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), working closely with the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), the Bali Government and the Indonesian Central Government.

Bridget Vercoe, WSPA New Zealand’s Country Manager, said, “By choosing to eradicate rabies through a dedicated vaccination effort, Bali is taking the most effective route to protecting the health of its citizens, as well as the thousands of tourists who visit the island every year, With this campaign, Bali is set to take centre stage and demonstrate a perfect model for rabies control to other countries where rabies continues to be a challenge.”

Following BAWA’s successful pilot vaccination scheme this year in two of Bali’s regencies, its agreement with the island’s government will enable teams of trained animal handlers to inoculate dogs in the remaining seven regencies (Footnote 1). The World Health Organization (WHO) describes such vaccinations as “Globally, the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people.” (Footnote 2)

The Governor of Bali, speaking at the signing event, said, "The Balinese community live in harmony with their animals and did not want to see them killed, but we did not have a choice in our fight against rabies - thanks to the international community, we now have a humane alternative for protecting our people and our animals."
News of this joint initiative is being welcomed by the international community committed to the common goal of rabies eradication. Deborah Briggs, the CEO of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, said, “We’ve seen enough evidence from around the world to reinforce our belief that this mass vaccination project is the single most effective measure in saving the lives of people on Bali.” (Footnote 3)

WSPA has designed the vaccination programme in close consultation with the Bali government, as the authorities will reclaim responsibility for managing and resourcing the scheme following the end of phase one. Efforts in the first phase have been supported by a generous donation from AusAID who donated 370,000 doses of dog vaccine in addition to drugs for human post-exposure treatment from the Bali and Indonesian Central Government.

The Bali government’s resuming ownership for the programme will ensure that the critical immunity threshold – of at least 70 per cent of Bali’s dog population being vaccinated – is maintained year on year, until the island can safely celebrate being rabies free.

1. Bali is divided into nine regencies: Buleleng, Jembrana, Tabanan, Badung, Bangli, Karangasem, Denpasar, Klungkung and Gianyar. BAWA have already completed vaccinating nearly 70,000 dogs equating to over 70 per cent of the dogs in Gianyar and Bangli regencies with support from WSPA and the Bali Street Dog Fund Australia. Please see for more information on BAWA.

2. Please see WHO’s factsheet on rabies:

3. As WSPA pointed out while submitting its proposal for island-wide vaccination, animal vaccination has been shown to be the most effective way to control rabies. In Mexico, for example, 16 million dogs are vaccinated every year, and the disease is close to eradication. In Flores, Indonesia, one third of the dog population was culled between 1998 and 2001, yet rabies there remains a serious problem. For more information, see:

4. WSPA's funding for the Bali vaccination project is supported in part by funds received from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

5. More than 23,000 New Zealanders visited Bali last year.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Embrace the Cause with Venus

It’s a cause that will touch almost every one of us at some point in our lives – and with one in nine New Zealand women diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime*, it’s not a cause we can afford to ignore.

To ensure that all Kiwi women are breast cancer aware, Gillette Venus have partnered with The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) to launch a product with heart – the popular Embrace razor will now also be available in pink to help Kiwi women get closer to the cause.

The new pink Venus Embrace will be available in New Zealand from mid-September and an on- pack donation of 50c from every razor sold will be donated to the NZBCF between October 1 and mid November.

The special edition pink Venus Embrace will include a ‘breast awareness booklet’, educating Kiwi women on how to be breast aware and to help set proactive breast checking habits for life. By providing the right tools, Venus and NZBCF hope to encourage women to check their breasts for abnormalities, as regularly as they change their razor blade (approximately once per month).

Heather Shotter, Executive Trustee of the NZBCF, is excited about the new partnership.

“We are thrilled to have Gillette Venus on board to support the NZBCF and it provides an easy way for New Zealand women to help support the cause,” she says.

“It is extremely important for women to be breast aware as it can save lives. More than 2,500 women are diagnosed with the disease every year in New Zealand, making it a disease – and a cause – that we all need to do something about.

“The bath or shower is an ideal place for women to check their breasts and now with the pink razor they have a simple yet effective reminder to do so,” says Ms Shotter.

Gillette Venus Embrace gives you Venus’ closest shave for seriously smooth skin. The five curve-hugging blades are positioned closely together and spring-mounted to create a shaving surface that adjusts to the natural contours and curves of your body. This allows the blade cartridge to sit flatter on the skin for a closer shave – no nicks or cuts here!

A protective ribbon of moisture fully surrounds the shaving surface for a super-smooth glide, while the soft grip handle improves control – even when wet. The shaving system also includes a ShowerPod™, with suction cup attachments for convenient razor and blade storage in your bathroom cupboard.

So embrace the cause with Venus and purchase any pink Venus Embrace or specially marked razor during October to help raise money for The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

The pink Venus Embrace with breast awareness booklet will be available from mid September in leading supermarkets and pharmacies.

The Venus Embrace range includes:

Gillette Venus Embrace Pink razor (includes refillable razor handle, two cartridges, a shower compact and breast awareness booklet) RRP $15.69
Gillette Venus Embrace Refill Cartridges (x4) RRP $20.98

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