US Doctor's note for sunscreen at school? Some states push to change law

03:36  20 may  2017
03:36  20 may  2017 Source:   CBS News

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Some states push to change the law . May 19, 2017, 6:50 PM| In most states , kids need a note from the doctor to apply sunscreen while they're at school .

CBS Evening News. Doctor ' s note for sunscreen at school ? Some states push to change law . But when Paul is at school , he and other students cannot apply sunscreen without a doctor ' s note .

NEW YORK -- On sunny days, Susan Grenon and her 10-year-old son Paul enjoy spending time in the backyard of their Smithfiled, Rhode Island, home.

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But before they head out, they always lather on the sunscreen.

"I have had three basal cell carcinomas and four precancerous moles removed in the last three years. It's a big deal," Susan said.

Watch: What to know about melanoma and how to protect yourself

The threat of skin cancer was a wake-up call to protect herself and her son, who burns easily.

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— Washington state lawmakers are pushing forward with a proposal that allows students to use sunscreen at school without a note from a doctor and parent, a rule that six other states also are considering to help protect children from developing skin cancer. The law is in place for Washington

— Washington state lawmakers are pushing forward with a proposal that allows students to use sunscreen at school without a note from a doctor and parent, a rule that six other states also are considering to help protect children from developing skin cancer. The law is in place for Washington

But when Paul is at school, he and other students cannot apply sunscreen without a doctor's note. That's because the Food and Drug Administration classifies sunscreen as an over-the-counter drug, like cough syrup.

Rhode Island is among eight states with pending legislation that makes an exception for sunscreen. At least seven states have passed a law allowing students to apply sunscreen.

According to the CDC, one sunburn in childhood nearly doubles a person's lifetime risk of getting melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer

What sunscreen users are doing wrong

"If there was widespread use of sunscreen and that was used properly we would definitely see a decline in our skin cancer rates," said dermatologist Jeff Ashley, who helped craft California's law to allow sunscreen in schools.

Susan says shining a light on sunscreen safety may save lives.

"All the damage is done young, but you don't know it now. But you're preventing it when they get older," she said.

States in the northern part of the country have some of the highest rates of melanoma. Each year, over 70,000 people are diagnosed and about 9,000 die from the disease.

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