Students tackle high skin cancer rates


A group of year 12 students in South Auckland has been tackling one of New Zealand’s biggest health issues – our high skin cancer rate.

The students have entered this year’s NIWA South and East Auckland Science and Technology Fair being held next week.

After hearing that New Zealand has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, they decided to focus their entry on working out ways to reduce melanoma rates. They investigated how a photochromatic pigment solution exposed to UV light could act as an alert patch for people when it changed colour.

They have called their entry Powder Patch Kids, and concluded the solution successfully responds to UV light and has promise for future commercial development.

The entry is one of about 115 from 15 schools across the region competing for more than $12,000 in total prize money with the premier award offering a $1000 cash prize. A primary category has also been included for the first time this year.

Other entries include a year 7 project called Going Nuts which discovers whether products carrying the precautionary label “may contain nuts” actually do while a year 12 student looked into the rehydrating properties of maple water and compared them with coconut water and Powerade.

There are also projects that test which bird seed cake attracts the most garden birds, tests on the manuka content of honey and its bacteria fighting abilities and a tool made for the home DIYer designed to hold multiple screws in place so wood doesn’t get damaged.

The fair takes place at Mission Heights Junior College, 103 Jeffs Rd, with public viewing on Monday and Tuesday from 3-6pm. Prizegiving will take place on September 4.

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