Arkansas News: Arkansas Passes Law Allowing Students to Possess and Use Sunscreen

Written authorization from a parent, guardian or health care professional no longer required thanks to ASDSA model bill “SUNucate”

ROLLING MEADOWS, IL (STL.News) Arkansas has joined 18 other states in adopting legislation to allow children to possess and apply sunscreen at school to avoid overexposure to the sun, an important step in preventing skin cancer.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law HB 1167, which was co-sponsored by Representative Lee Johnson, MD, and carried through the Senate by Senator David Wallace.  The legislation is based on ASDSA’s model bill known as SUNucate, which removes barriers that prohibit students from bringing and applying over-the-counter sunscreen at school or during school-related activities.  Under the new law, students will no longer require written authorization from a parent, legal guardian or health care professional to possess or use sunscreen at school or school-related activities.

“Sunscreen is one of the best tools we have to protect ourselves from skin cancer,” said ASDSA President Murad Alam, MD, MBA.  “Commonsense solutions like SUNucate are one of our strongest defenses against harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  We need to encourage children to use sunscreen whenever they are outdoors and practice sun-safe behavior throughout their life.”

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, which can be deadly.

ASDSA worked with its coalition partners to advocate for the passage of this law.  To learn more about SUNucate, visit asds.net/SUNucate.