By Josh Faiola

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) - In a leading effort to protect Rhode Islanders, the state will be deploying public natural sunscreen dispensers at all state beaches and parks this summer.

Governor Raimondo, and Senator Jack Reed join The Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH), The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island,  South County Dermatology and Raw Elements USA, to bring complimentary, environmentally safe and certified natural sunscreen dispenser stations to all Rhode Island State beaches and multiple parks for the summer of 2019.

There are over 2 million new diagnosed cases of skin cancer and over 5 million people treated each year in the United States, making in the most common form of cancer in  the country.  Overexposure to the sun is the leading cause. 

By making sunscreen readily available, The state of Rhode Island is looking to reduce the risk of skin cancer for its residents and visitors. 

“Rhode Island’s beautiful parks and beaches are some of our most treasured cultural and economic resources, drawing thousands of visitors from across the state and around the county,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo.  “Offering complimentary sunscreen stations at our public recreation facilities is an important way we can help people of all ages protect themselves against skin cancer this summer.”

The Rhode Island Department of Health's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program has been working with state and local parks and recreation partners to improve utilization of sun safe behaviors among outdoor workers, beach-goers and recreational athletes for the past 6 years.

“In conjunction with Governor Raimondo’s initiative to invest in state parks and beaches, DEM is excited to join the RI Department of Health, Raw Elements and other partners to bring complimentary sunscreen to Rhode Island state parks and beaches,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “This summer, before you ride the waves at Scarborough State Beach or scale the boulders at Lincoln Woods State Park, be sure to stop at the all-natural, Raw Elements sunscreen dispenser station. Your skin will be happy you did!”

For the past two summers, Raw Elements and the Town of Narraganset have been running a similar program which served as the model for the statewide launch.  

The Narragansett program served over 10.000 patrons a day and received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from locals and tourists.

This initiative is going to be funded by the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, with help from a federal Comprehensive Cancer Control cooperative agreement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

South County Dermatology and Raw Elements will also be investing in the initiative.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2019