Sunscreen In Schools


Every day at school kids are sent outside to play during the sunniest time of day. The sun is blazing, black tops are scorching, and sun burns are common. Evidence shows that one childhood sun burn can double their risk for skin cancer, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet, most states in America restrict the use of sunscreen and hats at school. While skin cancer is most common form of cancer in the United States with 1 in 5 people to being diagnosed in their lifetimes.

In the growing response to the concerns about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, many states have enacted policies addressing student use of sunscreen at school. So far 10 states have passed school sunscreen legislation: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

California was the first state to pass legislation in 2002 and it wasn’t until a decade later that another state, New York, passed a similar law in 2013.

In 2017, there was the largest push to change sunscreen restrictions at schools with 12 states considering legislation. In that push, Georgia and Mississippi failed to pass legislation and Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island still have legislation pending. Other states like Maryland, Michigan, and North Carolina considered but did not enact legislation.

In addition, there is a pending resolution in Congress addressing sunscreen use in schools. U.S. House resolution 282 would support federal, state and local efforts to exempt sunscreen from over-the-counter medication bans in schools. There was a similar resolution that was considered in 2016, but it didn’t pass out of committee.

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