ASDSA Debuts New Sun-Safety Model Legislation

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The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association is leading a nationwide effort to reduce the risk of skin cancer by creating model legislation that can be used by state legislatures to allow for the use of sunscreen in schools.

ASDSA
As dermatologic surgeons, we feel it is imperative to help teach children about the risks of sun exposure and why sun-protection efforts such as sunscreen are important in preventing skin cancer.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) is leading a nationwide effort to reduce the risk of skin cancer by launching model legislation today that will help guide states to allow for the use of sunscreen in schools and camps without a prescription and implement other sun-protection efforts.

The ASDSA model legislation – called SUNucate/Reducing the Risk of Skin Cancer and Excessive UV Exposure in Children Act – is being released today to coincide with Don’t Fry Day, an educational initiative by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP). As an NCSCP member, ASDSA helps to spread the message of sun-safety awareness.

SUNucate provides state governments with a framework to permit the use of sunscreens in school and camp settings. The model bill allows students to possess and use topical sunscreen products while on school property, at a school-sponsored event or youth camp without a physician’s note or prescription if the product is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter use.

The bill also encourages the use of sun-protective clothing, including hats, and calls for states to look at ways to best educate children on the dangers of skin cancer.

“As dermatologic surgeons, we feel it is imperative to help teach children about the risks of sun exposure and why sun-protection efforts such as sunscreen are important in preventing skin cancer,” said ASDSA President Naomi Lawrence, MD.

Encouraging states to pave the way to allow for the regular and routine use of sunscreen at schools without a prescription is key to reducing skin cancer in the United States. ASDSA is concerned about increasing reports of schools prohibiting children from bringing or using sunscreen without a prescription due to “medication bans” and fears of legal liability.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deems that policies prohibiting student possession of sunscreen or sun-protective clothing, such as hats, can create barriers to using these important sun-protection methods. Additionally, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends educating children, adolescents and young adults on the dangers of sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

ASDSA – with state dermatology societies and other interested partners – will work with legislatures to mitigate the impact of youth sun exposure at schools and camps. Optional legislative language encourages states to add grade-school instruction on skin cancer prevention in public schools, including basic facts about skin cancer and teaching a set of strategies such as sunscreen and sun-protective clothing to reduce the risk of contracting skin cancer.

Only California, Oregon and Texas have laws that permit the use of sunscreen in schools without a prescription. Arizona implemented a law in 2005 that requires all public schools to incorporate skin cancer prevention instruction into existing curricula.

About ASDSA

With a membership of over 6,100 physicians, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) – a 501(c)(6) association – was created to promote the educational and professional interests of dermatologic surgeons, provide a vehicle for advocacy and public education efforts on behalf of dermatologic surgeons and their patients, and address socioeconomic issues that impact the practice of dermatologic surgery as a specialty.

Contact:
Kristin Hellquist, ASDSA Director of Advocacy and Practice Affairs
847-956-9144

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