Washington Passes SUNucate, Protecting Kids from Skin Cancer

This giant step forward in protecting school-aged children from the harmful effects of sunburn and sun damage goes a long way in our state to make our children safer and more protected during designated outdoor time.

Legislation supported by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) and the Washington State Dermatology Association (WSDA) ensuring children are protected from dangerous sun exposure at school and camp was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee.

The bill, deemed SUNucate, eliminates barriers prohibiting students from possessing and using over-the-counter sunscreen by exempting these products from requirements implemented by broad reaching ‘medication bans’, such as the need for a physician’s note or prescription. ASDSA and WSDA applaud the efforts of Washington state lawmakers and the Governor on their work to protect children from skin cancer.

“Instilling the notion of sun-safe behavior in our youth is a key step in reducing the risk of skin cancer,” said ASDSA President Thomas E. Rohrer, MD. “As dermatologic surgeons, we must work to educate the population about the risks of excessive sun exposure and how to mitigate them.”

Multiple concerns were raised by dermatologists and in the media about children being required to bring a note or prescription from a physician in order to possess or use sunscreen, which is classified as an over-the-counter drug by the FDA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Preventive Services Task Force both believe that children should have access to sunscreen and other sun-protective measures in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

“This giant step forward in protecting school-aged children from the harmful effects of sunburn and sun damage goes a long way in our state to make our children safer and more protected during designated outdoor time,” said Tanya Hathaway, MD, WSDA President. “With an ongoing commitment to these measures, we hope to decrease the burden of skin cancer for everyone in Washington State.”

ASDSA and WSDA worked with multiple medical/health care organizations, patient groups and industry partners – such as the American Medical Association, members of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and the Personal Care Products Council – to show state legislators the need for this measure which will protect children attending schools and youth camps. Encouraging states 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. To find more information on SUNucate visit http://asdsa.asds.net/SUNucate.

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