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. Research indicates that just one blistering sunburn, especially at a young age, can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life. However, studies have shown that the use of sunscreen and other sun safety measures reduces a person’s chances of developing melanoma. Schools take precautions to keep children inside when it is too cold or hot, or if there’s rain or snow. 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.