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Free sunscreen dispensers proposed for NYC playgrounds, pools, beaches, parks

Free sunscreen dispensers should be installed at NYC

Free sunscreen dispensers should be installed at NYC parks, playgrounds, pools and beaches, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer. Pictured: Jayden Martinez, 7, of Brooklyn, jumps into the pool of the Asser Levy Recreation Center on Wednesday, June 29, 2016--the opening day for New York City's public pools. Photo Credit: Vincent Barone

No sunscreen? No problem.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer is calling on the city to provide free sunscreen at playgrounds, pools, beaches and parks across the five boroughs.

His proposal, which is pending approval from the city’s Department of Health, is in collaboration with the Melanoma Foundation of New England, a Massachusetts nonprofit that sets up sunscreen dispensers across the country supported by fundraisers and public-private partnerships.

The initiative aims to prevent incidents of skin cancer, such as melanoma, which kills more than 10,000 people in the United States each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

“If you have around five sunburns in your lifetime, you more than double your risk for melanoma,” said Deb Girard, the executive director of the Melanoma Foundation of New England.

Each sunscreen dispenser costs $200, and every package of sunscreen also costs $200. One package can provide enough sunscreen for around 600 people, Girard said.

Stringer said he hopes New York City will follow the lead of other cities that have already adopted free sunscreen programs. For instance, the Melanoma Foundation of New England has installed 50 sunscreen dispensers throughout Boston, funded by local hospitals and public health advocacy groups.

“Now’s the time to learn from other cities, and make free sunscreen available to every New Yorker,” Stringer said. “[New Yorkers] shouldn’t return home with a sunburn or a higher risk of cancer.”

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