Boston combats skin cancer with new, free sunscreen dispensers — at no cost to taxpayers, either.
Forget to put on sunscreen before you leave the house? It’s not a problem, if you live in Boston.
Thanks to City Councilman Matt O’Malley, there are now sunscreen dispensers throughout the city. And they’re free! Taxpayers aren’t paying a dime.
“Skin cancer and melanoma are among the most prevalent cancers and they’re also among the most preventable,” O’Malley told WBUR. “So what we are doing in Boston is, we’re offering a service, we’re promoting public health and we’re reminding folks of the importance of sunscreen — at no cost to the taxpayer. It’s an incredibly wonderful initiative, and I look forward to seeing it spreading across the country much like the way my freckles spread every summer.”
O’Malley said he got the idea from a medical student, but no major U.S. city had ever adopted the idea — until now.
Currently, there are 30 dispensers located throughout the city. If residents respond favorably, O’Malley plans to expand the initiative to all 200 city parks and playgrounds.
“The dispensers cost between $100 and $200, O’Malley says, so the ultimate price tag could be close to $50,000 — but not to the taxpayers. The dispensers are a public-private partnership including the Melanoma Foundation of New England and Make Big Change, both organizations that fight skin cancer. The foundation is covering the cost of the dispensers, according to a press release, and Make Big Change provides the dispenser units.”
When filled, each dispenser holds enough SPF 30 sunscreen for 670 applications.
Melanoma currently kills one person every hour, and women aged 25-32 are at highest risk. According to the Melanoma Foundation of New England, the New England states have a higher than average rate of melanoma.
Photo: Jeremy T. Hetzel/Flickr