The Indiana Academy of Dermatology (IAD), with a grant from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA), helped successfully pass legislation to ensure students are protected from the dangers of UV rays while at school. Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill, making Indiana the first state in 2018 to help better protect children through access to sunscreen at school.
The legislation known as SUNucate was introduced by Senator Liz Brown and is designed to eliminate barriers that prohibit students from possessing and using over-the-counter sunscreen in school. Sunscreen often falls under broad reaching “medication bans” that require a physician’s note or prescription to utilize in school.
“Just as schools allow students to bring and wear hats and gloves on the playground to protect against the cold, all schools should allow sunscreen to protect students from the sun,” said Indiana Academy of Dermatology (IAD) President and ASADA member Carrie Davis, MD. “Sun-safe practices are a public health concern, and SUNucate encourages the use of sunscreen in Hoosier students to generate lasting sun-safe practices.”
The need for such legislation arose after concerns were raised by dermatologists and reports in the national media about students 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 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 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.
“Instilling sun-safe behaviors in children is key in reducing the risk of skin cancer,” said ASDSA President Lisa Donofrio, MD. “By allowing students to have sunscreen in school, Indiana is working to mitigate the risks of sun exposure during outdoor activities, such as recess and field days.”
ASDSA developed the model legislation, and IAD worked with multiple groups in Indiana – such as the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians, the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Indiana State Medical Association – to pass this important law. To learn more about SUNucate, visit asdsa.asds.net/SUNucate.