In light of Melanoma Awareness Month and National Sunscreen Day on May 27th, take this scary factoid, and then slather your kiddles in SPF! Sunscreens are prohibited from all public schools in America, except in the state of California as the FDA regulates them as over- the-counter drugs. Presently, California is the only state to allow the use of sunscreen during the school day without a physician’s note or prescription.
With over 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually, it’s time to take action. Coinciding with Melanoma Awareness Month, Holly Thaggard CEO and founder of Supergoop! (a line of sunscreens formulated without parabens, petrochemicals, fragrances, and phthalates to provide consumers with an environment- and body-friendly choice for everyday UV protection) is doing just that with the launch of Project Backpack™, an initiative to advocate change in state policies, allowing the use of sunscreen on school campuses.
Kids aren’t getting the sunscreen message. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, unprotected sun exposure during childhood and early adult years significantly increases a child’s chance of developing skin cancer; yet, in a survey conducted by The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, only 25% of students said they “often or always” use sunscreen when outside for at least six hours in the summer.
Launching nationwide May 2012, Project Backpack™ serves as a vehicle to influence a change in state policies, allowing the use of sunscreen on school campuses, while simultaneously providing sunscreen to schools across the United States. For every SPF 30 Everyday UV Lotion sold, Supergoop! will donate one backpack-sized sunscreen to one of its partner schools in the U.S.. This year, the goal is to provide sunscreen for 30,000 – 40,000 students (K – 12) in approved partner schools, starting in California.
The idea for Project Backpack™ arose when Holly’s daughter came home from her first grade class prior to an outdoor field trip with a note in her backpack stating that any sunscreen included in a child’s backpack would be discarded. Although aware the law prohibiting sunscreens in schools existed, the incident served as a catalyst to officially launch Project Backpack™.
Holly & her beautiful kids, above.
“As a parent I was upset and as a suncare professional, I was discouraged that sun protection laws are so antiquated,” said Thaggard. “How does a law exist that prohibits the use of sunscreen at school? I decided that there needed to be an effective platform for concerned parents to contest such counterintuitive legislation.” Through this campaign, Supergoop! hopes to teach sun safety while also providing children with the necessary sun protection to encourage early adoption of healthy skincare habits.
Dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD, past president of American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery and founder of LovelySkin.com, states, “Safe sun exposure is essential at every age. It is imperative that we break habits such as going on the playground unprotected. Project Backpack has identified one area where sun exposure regrettably is nearly unavoidable due to current school rules. As a dermatologist, I feel this type of program is fantastic and will serve our most precious asset, our kids, well.”
Make a difference and support Project Backpack™ by purchasing Supergoop’s SPF 30 Everyday UV Lotion at retailers nationwide, nominating and advocating the program in your child’s school, “liking” the Project Backpack™ campaign on Facebook, and/or signing a petition on Supergoop.com/projectbackpack.