In a leading effort to protect its residents from skin cancer, the Ocean State deploys public natural sunscreen dispensers at all state beaches and parks this summer.

Governor Gina Raimondo and US Senator Jack Reed join Rhode Island Department of Health, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, Rhode Island-based South County Dermatology and Raw Elements USA®, a certified natural sunscreen company founded by a long time Rhode Island lifeguard, to bring complimentary, certified natural, environmentally-safe sunscreen dispenser stations to all Rhode Is-land State Beaches & several Parks for the 2019 summer season.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. There are over 2 million new cases diag-nosed 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. “Rhode Island’s beautiful parks and beaches are some of our most treasured cultural and economic resources, drawing thou-sands of visitors from across the state and around the county,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Of-fering 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.”

Rhode Island is a national leader in driving sunscreen standards. U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) au-thored The Sunscreen Innovation Act in 2014 to help ensure that U.S. consumers have access to safe and effective sunscreen. In February 2019, the FDA responded by issuing new proposed regulations to the sunscreen industry. “I commend Governor Raimondo, the state, Raw Elements USA, and the Part-nership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island for encouraging people to protect themselves and making sunscreen more accessible to all,” said Senator Jack Reed. “Despite the not-so-sunny statistics about the increase in melanoma rates, there are steps we can all take to help prevent skin cancer and using sunscreen is one of the best ways to do that. These dispensers help raise awareness, encourage healthy habits, and offer beachgoers free sunscreen to protect themselves.”

With 20% 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 and 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 Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “Skin cancer can affect 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 Is-landers who visit our State’s wonderful beaches have access to sunscreen. Sunscreen is a powerful form of prevention that saves lives!”

“We feel truly honored to have the opportunity with such amazing partners to bring this public health initiative to the State of Rhode Island,” says Brian Guadagno, founder of Raw Elements. “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.”

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 Rhode Island Department of Health, 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 Check 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, DEM is excit-ed to join the RI Department of Health, Raw Elements and other partners to bring complimentary sun-screen to Rhode Island state parks and beaches,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “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, RI 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 10.000 patrons a day and received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from locals and tourists.

This initiative will be funded by the Rhode Island Department of Health 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 (NU58DP006291-03-00), as well as by investment from South County Dermatology and Raw Elements.

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