Town expands free sunscreen program


The Town of Hempstead wants you to lather up this summer and announced Monday that it was expanding a free sunscreen program at all town beaches, pools and other areas.

Last year, the town announced that it was installing 25 free sunscreen dispensers at all town beaches and pools through a $25,000 grant from South Nassau Communities Hospital.

Town Supervisor Laura Gillen and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adhi Sharma, of South Nassau Communities Hospital, announced Monday at a press conference at Point Lookout Beach that 30 free sunscreen dispensers can now be found throughout the town, all equipped with SPF 30 sunscreen. The dispensers, containing Triple Action Sea Kelp sunscreen, were made available through another $25,000 grant from South Nassau, a town spokesman said.

In addition to town beaches and pools, the dispensers can now be found at new areas including the Lido Golf Club, Hempstead Town Hall and key locations to protect highway and sanitation employees who work outside all day, the town said.

“So for those who come to the beach for the summer and either forget to apply their sunscreen beforehand, or they run out, there is no excuse,” said Gillen.

Each dispenser holds roughly a quart of sunscreen and will be refilled regularly throughout the beach and pool season, the town said.

Gillen said she hopes the readily available sunscreen will help protect beach-goers from “harmful UV rays” and prevent skin cancer.

“Skin cancer is one of few cancers that are completely preventable for most people if they take the proper precautions,” said Gillen. “We want our residents to enjoy our parks and beaches this summer, but having ‘fun in the sun’ shouldn’t come at the expense of their health.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer rates have tripled since the 1970s. The American Cancer Society said that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

“Unprotected sun exposure to the skin puts individuals at risk for sunburn, and subsequent risk for the development of various skin cancers,” said Sharma.

He also recommended other steps to reduce the risk of contracting skin cancer, including avoiding exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., wearing broad-brimmed hats and UV-protective sunglasses, and covering up with clothing.