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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 23, 2017 02:34 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach and Sen. Randy Vulakovich
To: All Senate members
Subject: Sunscreen in Schools
In the near future we plan to introduce legislation to allow students at school to apply sunscreen or wear sun-protective clothing without a prescription or doctors' note. This bill is a companion to Rep. English's HB 1228 in the House. Many children are exposed to UV radiation due to lack of sunscreen use and high rates of sun burn. Excessive UV exposure can lead to skin cancer development and we should do all we can to protect our students from such risks.

In Pennsylvania, only the school nurse can administer sunscreen because it is considered an over the counter medication by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Just like Neosporin, students must have a doctor's order, not just their parent's permission, and the sunscreen has to be administered by a nurse. Kids are not allowed to bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that school policies that prohibit hats or student possession of sunscreen can create barriers to the use of important sun protection methods and the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends educating children, adolescents and young adults on the dangers of sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

This legislation will allow for the outdoor use by students of sun-protective clothing, including, but not limited to hats. The bill provides that nothing would prevent a school entity from prohibiting certain clothing or hats based on the inappropriateness of the graphics, color or message of the clothing or hats.

In addition, it would allow students, during school hours or at a school-sponsored activity, to apply a topical sunscreen product without a physician’s note or prescription if the product is approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use. Moreover, a school entity may allow, but not require, school personnel to assist students in applying a topical sunscreen product with parental permission. Finally, school personnel may not be held liable for application of a topical sunscreen product if the product is available to and used by the student in accordance with this legislation.

If you have questions about this legislation, please contact Jon Tew at jonathan.tew@pasenate.com or 610-768-4200.