Mexico City Registers Dangerously High UV Radiation

Photo: Dr Renu Madden


As a scorching spring heat wave persists in Mexico City (CDMX), the capital’s Ultraviolet Radiation Index has hit its highest level yet, making unprotected sun exposure extremely dangerous.

Photo:; World Health Organization

Guillermo Ayala, director of early warning for the Secretariat of Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection (SGIRPC), on Tuesday, May 10, warned that radiation levels in Mexico City have reached 11+, that is, the highest level on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation Index.

“We have more radiation than other cities because you have to consider that Mexico City becomes a heat island. We have too much concrete, too much asphalt, too many buildings that concentrate the radiation,” he explained.

Added to this is the capital’s geographical location, closer to the sun because of CDMX’s high altitude.

High UV radiation levels are found especially in the municipalities of Cuauhtémoc, Miguel Hidalgo, Gustavo A. Madero and Venustiano Carranza, where concrete and buildings predominate, because the ground, walls and windows tend to reflect radiation.

In the CDMX municipalities of Milpa Alta, Xochimilco and Tlalpan, he said, the radiation levels are lower because there are more trees that allow for faster cooling.

Ayala recommended not spending more than 20 minutes in the sun, and preferably only leaving the house between 7 a.m. and 12 noon, or after 6:30 p.m., because these are the hours with the least radiation.

In addition to using a high SPF sunscreen (and reapplying it every few hours), Ayala said to wear long-sleeved clothing, cover yourself with a hat or umbrella to protect your neck and ears, and wear sunglasses.

Hydration is also important to protect against sunstroke.

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