Take Action: Students Need Sunscreen at School
Yesterday, both the Today Show and NBC Nightly News broadcast stories about a disturbing prohibition of sunscreen in schools and the difficulty many parents have in ensuring their child is sun safe during the school day. This news coverage highlighted proposed legislation in Washington state that would overturn this ban and allow students to carry sunscreen and reapply during the day. The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) was proud to offer our support and resources during the development of these stories and are encouraged that national awareness is being brought to such an important issue.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and nearly 90% of cases are thought to be caused by ultraviolet (UV) exposure, which can come from either the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. A single blistering sunburn, especially at a young age, can more than double your chances of developing melanoma later in life. Multiple studies have shown that the use of sunscreen and other sun safety measures are a safe and effective way to reduce a person’s chances of developing melanoma. Schools understand the need to keep children inside when it is too cold or hot, or if there’s rain, snow or other environmental dangers. The same concern should be used when it comes to protecting children from the sun’s harmful rays. When schools do not allow students to apply sunscreen before going outside for recess or gym class, they are putting those children at risk for developing melanoma.
In addition to the Washington state bill, six states (Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island) are currently debating similar legislation. California, New York, Oregon, Texas and Utah are the only states with existing laws in place to allow sunscreen in schools. With the vast majority of American students still at risk, we need your help!
If your state legislature is considering a sunscreen bill, contact your local representative and urge them to support it! If you live in a state without this proposed legislation, ask your representative to take a leadership role on the issue and sponsor a bill. Protecting our students is a critical national issue, but it will be accomplished at the local level – contact your representatives today!