Don’t burn on the beach
ISLIP TOWN—Last week, the towns of Islip and Babylon announced the availability of 50 free sunscreen dispensers at parks and beaches throughout both townships this summer. The dispensers will be available through Labor Day.
Islip Town supervisor Angie Carpenter said, during a joint press conference at West Islip Beach, that the program would help residents of all ages in both towns.
“When you come to the beach and forget to take your sunscreen, [the dispensers] are there,” Carpenter said, adding that the program sends a “clear message” to the public that it’s important to protect yourself from skin cancer.
Babylon Town supervisor Rich Schaffer couldn’t make the event, but one of the town’s councilmembers, Terence McSweeney, spoke in his place.
McSweeney pointed out that three million new cases of melanoma occur every year in the United States. He added that 86 percent of these cases are linked to sun exposure, while 7,000 people throughout the nation will die every year from melanoma.
Southside Hospital Northwell Health Systems has partnered with both townships and their divisions of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs to provide the SPF 30 sunscreen dispensers throughout the summer months.
Southside Hospital’s executive director, Donna Moravick, said the largest organ in your body is your skin. “Prevention is the first line of defense,” she said.
Maverick also told a brief story about one of Southside’s employees, who recently visited the beach with her 9-year-old child and forgot sunscreen, but was able to use one of the yellow dispensers that were made available. “So, we have already seen one of our employees impacted by [the program],” she said.
The move comes about a week after Suffolk County officials unveiled 21 sunscreen dispensers at various county parks and beaches.
Last year, Legis. Susan Berland sponsored legislation which established the sunscreen dispenser program and secured a three-year sponsorship with Catholic Health Services to offset the cost, according to officials.
The dispensers, like the ones installed in town parks and beaches, also contain SPF 30.
The rate of new melanoma cases among American adults has tripled since the 1970s, from 7.9 per 100,000, in 1975 to 23 per 100,000, according to the National Cancer Institute. The melanoma death rate among white American men, the highest risk group, has also increased drastically, from 2.6 deaths per 100,000 in 1975 to 4.3 in 2016.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that since 2003, the rates of new melanoma cases among men and women have increased by 1.7 and 1.4 percent per year, respectively.
The reasons for these trends are unclear, according to reports. But, in addition to sunburn, experts cite family history, indoor tanning, moles, and ultraviolet radiation as risk factors.
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