Providence, RI (June 2022) – The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and Raw Elements Mineral Sunscreen are expanding their skin cancer prevention efforts this summer by deploying more than 70 touch-free sunscreen dispensers throughout The Ocean State for summer 2022.
Through The Partnership To Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, RIDOH has expanded its efforts to include a municipality program this summer that will provide 50 additional Raw Elements sunscreen dispensers to cities and towns within the state. Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Jamestown, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Charlestown, Coventry, Warren, and Westerly will be receiving the dispensers to install at their parks and beaches.
"There are some scary statistics on the prevalence and consequences of skin cancer, but through this winning coalition of caring partners, I am proud to say that the State of Rhode Island will help save lives," said Governor Dan McKee. "Offering complimentary sunscreen stations at our beautiful parks and beaches and Department of Corrections facilities is an important way we can help people of all ages protect themselves against skin cancer this summer."
Rhode Island continues to be a leader in skin cancer prevention efforts, sunscreen oversight, and environmental initiatives. US Senator Jack Reed co-authored The Sunscreen Innovation Act and has been a strong supporter of this prevention program. "I commend our community partners for making these free, touch-free sunscreen dispensers widely available to the public. This program is a smart public health service helping prevent skin cancer and reduce public health costs. Offering free sunscreen at parks and beaches helps people protect themselves and means more people can safely enjoy the great outdoors," said Senator Reed.
The program first launched in 2019 with a combined coalition of RIDOH, The Partnership To Reduce Cancer In Rhode Island, RI State Parks, Department of Environmental Management, South County Dermatology, and Raw Elements providing Mineral Sunscreen to State beaches and parks in the Ocean State with complimentary touch-free dispensers across 20 different sites.
All sunscreen dispenser stations throughout the state will feature signage with key information in English and Spanish and QR codes linked to additional information in Spanish. The sign's design maximizes education, usage, and best sun-safe practices.
"We are pleased to be tripling the number of places that Rhode Islanders can quickly and easily help keep themselves and their families safe from the harmful effects of the sun," said Interim Director of Health Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH. "Remember to apply sunscreen to all areas of the skin exposed to the sun and reapply every two hours. Summer is a beautiful time to enjoy parks and beaches. These touch-free sunscreen dispensers help visitors follow sun-safe practices."
RIDOH will also provide the Rhode Island Department of Corrections with eight sunscreen dispensers to promote outdoor skin cancer preventive measures for its staff and inmate population. "The RIDOC is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our population and staff. This program assists the Department in providing protection to all as skin cancer is real health concern. We believe this initiative will help protect people, so they can be safer when they are exposed to the sun's UV rays," said RIDOC Director Patricia A. Coyne-Fague, Esq.
Overexposure to the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the US. Thus skin cancer, which is sometimes deadly, is largely preventable. "By making Raw Elements mineral sunscreen readily available throughout The Ocean State, Rhode Island is helping its millions of sun-seeking residents and visitors reduce their risk of skin cancer while at the same time protecting our fragile ocean and its marine life," said Board-Certified Dermatologist Robert K. Dyer, MD, MPH of South County Dermatology.
Raw Elements Mineral Sunscreen was founded by a long-time Rhode Island Ocean Lifeguard concerned about skin cancer prevention and the coastal environment. The mineral-only sunscreen in the dispensers contains 20% Non- Nano Zinc Oxide, natural botanical ingredients, is considered Safe & Effective under new FDA guidelines, and is top- rated by The Environmental Working Group in its 2022 Annual Sunscreen Report. "It is gratifying to see how this program has continued to grow and protect more people each summer in Rhode Island. This champion program is a model example in our nation, demonstrating how the public, private, and NGO sectors can unite for the common good to protect people and our environment. We are so grateful to all our partners here and look forward to a sun safe summer in 2022," said Raw Elements Founder Brian Guadagno.
"DEM is very pleased to continue our partnership again this summer with Raw Elements, the Rhode Island Department of Health, South County Dermatology, and The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island to offer complimentary sunscreen stations at many state beaches and parks," said DEM Director Terry Gray. Through this successful initiative, Rhode Island residents, visitors, and facility staff will have access to safe and effective sunscreen all summer. "Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and more people are diagnosed with it each year in the US than all other cancers combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Helping people protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays while enjoying public facilities is a win-win that we are proud to be part of," Gray said.
This initiative is funded by 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 (NU58DP006291-03-00), as well as by investment from South County Dermatology and Raw Elements.