Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. There are over two million new cases diagnosed, and over 5 million people treated each year.
Overexposure to the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer.
By making sunscreen readily available throughout the State, the Ocean State is helping its millions of sun-seeking residents and visitors take the first step in reducing their risk of developing skin cancer.
This year, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced a new plan to invest into these beaches and parks, Rhode Island's treasures, for the benefit of generations to come.
For the 2019 summer season, there will be certified, natural, and environmentally-safe sunscreen dispenser stations in all Rhode Island State Beaches and several parks.
"Rhode Island's beautiful parks and beaches are some of our most treasured cultural and economic resources, drawing thousands of visitors from across the state and around the county," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo.
"Offering complimentary sunscreen stations at our public recreation facilities is an important way we can help people of all ages protect themselves against skin cancer this summer."
A National Example
Rhode Island is a national leader in driving sunscreen standards.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed authored The Sunscreen Innovation Act in 2014 to help ensure that U.S. consumers have access to safe and effective sunscreen.
In February 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded by issuing new proposed regulations to the sunscreen industry.
"I commend Governor Raimondo, the state, Raw Elements USA, and the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island for encouraging people to protect themselves and making sunscreen more accessible to all," said Senator Jack Reed.
"These dispensers help raise awareness, encourage healthy habits, and offer beachgoers free sunscreen to protect themselves."
With 20 percent non-nano zinc oxide as its sole active ingredient, Raw Elements sunscreen is fully compliant with the new reef-safe sunscreen legislation passed in Hawaii and Key West.
It also meets the FDA's 2019 proposed rule on sunscreen ingredients GRASE (Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective) as well as being top rated by The Environmental Working Group for the past eight years.
"Using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more is one of the most important things you can do to protect against skin cancer," said Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).
"Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones and complexions, and the sun's ultraviolet rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. RIDOH is proud to partner in this critical public health effort to ensure that all Rhode Islanders who visit our State's wonderful beaches have access to sunscreen. A sunscreen is a powerful form of prevention that saves lives!"
"There is such a high density of people enjoying summers here, and now they, as well as state employees, will have access to safe and effective sunscreen literally at their fingertips. This is a huge win for public health and a national example," says Brian Guadagno, founder of Raw Elements.
Sunscreen Saves Lives
Sun safety is a priority in Rhode Island at both the State and local level in Rhode Island.
For the past six years, the Rhode Island Department of Health's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program has worked diligently with state and local parks and recreation partners to improve utilization of sun-safe behaviors among outdoor workers, beach-goers, and recreational athletes.
The RIDOH, the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, Brown Dermatology, Lifespan Community Health and NBC 10 will continue to lead summer initiatives providing complimentary skin cancer screenings and sun care education throughout the state's beaches and parks.
"In conjunction with Governor Raimondo's initiative to invest in state parks and beaches, we are excited to join RIDOH, Raw Elements, and other partners to bring complimentary sunscreen to Rhode Island state parks and beaches," adds Janet Coit, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM).
"This summer, before you ride the waves at Scarborough State Beach or scale the boulders at Lincoln Woods State Park, be sure to stop at the all-natural, Raw Elements sunscreen dispenser station. Your skin will be happy you did!"
Raw Elements and the Town of Narragansett have been running a similar complimentary sunscreen program for the past two summers which served as a national model for the statewide launch.
The Narragansett program served over ten thousand patrons a day and received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from locals and tourists.
This initiative will be funded by the RIDOH and the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, through a federal Comprehensive Cancer Control cooperative agreement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, as well as by investment from South County Dermatology and Raw Elements.