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The Journal Gazette

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Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:00 am

General Assembly

Schools' limits on sunscreen examined

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – A Senate panel heard testimony Wednesday that would curb school limitations on sunscreen.

Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, brought Senate Bill 24 at the request of dermatologists who want students to more freely be able to use cream-based sunscreen at school.

Brown said she was surprised that schools have such limitations on an over-the-counter item and said the bill puts no burden on schools and is voluntary for parents.

“Good habits start early,” Brown said.

Some schools require a doctor's authorization for over-the-counter sunscreen and even require it to be kept in the nurse's office, according to testimony.

Dr. Carrie Davis, president of the Indiana Academy of Dermatology, said the bill removes barriers for kids to bring and use sunscreen during and after school. She noted that five or more sunburns in childhood more than doubles the chance of melanoma in the future.

She said 10 other states have passed similar legislation.

“No published studies show sunscreen is toxic to humans or hazardous to human health,” said Dr. Mary McAteer. She noted kids will skip it if made to go to the office to apply it for a short recess.

“Behaviors taught and encouraged at school come home,” she said.

No one from the education community spoke on the bill.

The Education Committee will vote on Senate Bill 24 next week.

nkelly@jg.net