New York City May Offer Free Sunscreen at Parks, Pools, Beaches

Courtesy Melanoma Foundation

Fun in the sun for everyone! New York City’s comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, wants to cover the city with free sunscreen dispensers in public parks, playgrounds, pools and beaches.

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“Skin cancer is a serious public health concern, and it demands government attention. When New Yorkers head to our City’s parks, beaches, pools, and playgrounds this summer, they shouldn’t return home with a sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer,” he said in a Wednesday, June 29, press release. “Providing free sunscreen to City residents can protect our children and save lives, and we can do it at virtually no cost to the City.”

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The idea was influenced by Miami Beach and Boston, cities that have already installed machines that dispense SPF 30 sunscreen in their parks and beaches. Boston has 20 while Miami boasts at least 50. While Boston’s machines are provided by Melanoma Foundation of New England, a nonprofit organization, Miami’s lotion is provided by a private company, Destination Brands.

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New York City, which has 14 miles of beaches and almost 30,000 acres of parkland, would benefit from the machines as the city has an average of 234 days of sunshine each year. New York City’s average UV index rating is between 6 and 7, which indicates a high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Besides its health benefits, the program also carries an advantage that could pay off. “Given that three ounces of sunscreen — just enough for one person’s day at the beach— can cost as much as $13.99, free sunscreen will help all New Yorkers keep more of their hard-earned cash for other priorities,” a report said. 

The New York Times reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio will review Stringer’s proposal. But in the meantime, tell Us: Would you use free sunscreen? 

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