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Bill would enable students to use sunscreen with parents' permission

Feb 5, 2018

Credit Sarah Kerson / Michigan Radio

Seventeen-year-old Madison Horton is a student at the International Academy of Macomb. She’s also endured multiple surgeries to remove skin cancers.  As a result, sunscreen is a big part of her life.

But Horton says she was surprised to learn other Michigan students are not allowed to apply sunscreen at school.

When she testified last week before the House Education Reform committee, Horton equated sunscreen with Epi-pens, which are allowed.

“While these may be more short-term, as an asthma attack or allergic reaction… sunscreen is preventing a long-term effect and threat to our lives as well,” Horton told the state lawmakers on the committee.

Still, many Michigan school districts only allow students to use sunscreen with a doctor’s note.  

A proposed state law would lift the liability concerns of school district administrators and permit students to use sunscreen during the day with a parent’s permission.

The legislation has the support of Michigan dermatologists.

“Children, they have a lot of sun exposure throughout the years,” says Dr. Henry Lim, the president of the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as a senior vice president for academic affairs at the Henry Ford Health System. “This sun exposure effect is quite cumulative.”

Lim says damage done when someone is young can result in skin cancer later in life. 

The sunscreen bill’s sponsor is optimistic Michigan lawmakers will pass his legislation this year.