Many people don’t like to accept that their dream job may come with some significant health risks. When it comes to cannabis growers, those health risks can be life threatening thanks to an increased risk of developing melanoma skin cancer. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to prevent melanoma skin cancer from forming, especially once you understand the risks and how to prevent them. As a cannabis grower, the industry may still be catching up to workers rights and regulations that force workplaces to supply growers with the proper safety equipment to prevent melanoma, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take matters of your own health—and life—into your own hands.
What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a certain type of cancer in the skin that forms after prolonged exposure to radiation that causes an increase in melanocytes—the cells in the body that produce melanin, which controls the color of your skin. Many factors come into play when determining a person’s likelihood of developing melanoma skin cancer—such as how fair their skin is to begin with, whether or not there is a family history of melanoma skin cancer, how often a person’s sun burns result in peeling, and age. One of the biggest factors that determines whether or not melanoma skin cancer forms, though, is how much exposure a person gets to ultraviolet and other types of radiation.
Why Are Growers At Risk Specifically?
Cannabis growers face an increased risk of developing melanoma skin cancer thanks to the exposure they get to ultraviolet grow lights in grow operations. While there are few reports to suggest that grow lights pose a significant risk to the skin health of cannabis workers—mostly because the industry is so newly legal—that doesn’t mean that there have not been previous studies to suggest that agricultural grow lights pose a significant health risk.
Grow lights, which help cannabis plants flourish and grow quickly to promote a faster product turnover, mimic sunlight exposure by creating greater exposure to UVA/B, IR, and Visible light rays. These light rays, while good for the growth of plants, are known to be greatly harmful to humans because of the increase in radiation from not just two, but four types of light radiation. Most sunscreens and protective clothing only protect the body against UVA/B radiation, which adds another layer of complexity to the problem.
Recognizing The Warning Signs
The best and most effective way to check for melanoma skin cancer is to get a regular screening from your doctor, but there are warning signs you should look out for to get an idea of your skin health. If your skin develops a mole that looks significantly different than any of the other moles on your body, or if a mole suddenly changes in shape, size, color, or texture, it may be a good idea to get it checked out. Generally, any sudden skin abnormalities aside from the occasional blemish should be a cause for concern, and staying on top of it to catch anything as soon as possible could mean the difference between life and death.
How Growers Can Prevent Melanoma
Growers can prevent the development of melanoma skin cancer by investing in the proper equipment to protect themselves and their bodies from contracting the disease. Regular sun protection—such as sunscreen and proper eyewear, is a start, but those that are regularly exposed to harmful grow lights will need something more protective. Raywear is the only protective clothing brand that uses fabric guaranteed to prevent exposure to all three types of radiation: UV, IR, and Visible. Plus, the light, breathable fabric is comfortable and cooling, meaning workers can wear it for long periods and not get uncomfortable.