Over 850,000 Maryland students will be protected from sun exposure

Governor Larry Hogan signed HB 427 into law on Tuesday, making Maryland the second state this year to ensure state policy allows students to possess and use sunscreen at school.

The legislation is based on the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association’s (ASDSA) model legislation known as SUNucate to eliminate barriers that prohibit students from possessing and using over-the-counter sunscreen in school. Sunscreen often falls under broad reaching “medication bans” that require a physician’s note or prescription to utilize in school. HB 427 was introduced by Delegate Karen Lewis Young with companion legislation, SB 217, introduced by Senator Ron Young.

ASDSA Board Member Lawrence Green, MD, of Rockville, Maryland testified in favor of SB 217 during committee consideration and said, “Allowing children to put on sunscreen before recess (…) would really help protect them from the dangers of the sun.”

The need for such legislation arose after concerns were raised by dermatologists and reports in the national media about students being required to bring a note or prescription from a physician in order to possess or use sunscreen, which is classified as an over-the-counter drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Preventive Services Task Force both believe that children should have access to sunscreen and other sun-protective measures in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

“The passing of this bill helps encourage children to develop sun-safe behaviors early on, like sunscreen application,” said ASDSA President Lisa Donofrio, MD. “Maryland’s efforts reinforce the importance of teaching children the risks of sun exposure during outdoor activities and how to best avoid skin cancer.”

ASDSA was pleased to work with the Maryland Dermatologic Society in advocating for passage of this common-sense law.

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