Boston’s Public Sunscreen Dispenser Idea Is Absolute Genius For Forgetful Moms

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sunscreenA teen goth phase is a source of embarrassment for many young people, but I maintain that an otherwise ill-advised addiction to chalky makeup and vampire romance novels is one of the best things that ever happened to me, because it gave me a desire for a sexy, vampire-esque pallor that made me obsessed with sunscreen to this day. When the goth phase wore off, a fear of aging had begun, so I have worn sunscreen basically every day, rain or shine, since I was about 12 years old. I advocate for sunscreen use the way some people advocate for breastfeeding, so I think Boston’s plan to install sunscreen dispensers in public parks is absolute genius.

According to The Boston Globe, Boston city councillor Matt O’Malley has proposed installing free sunscreen dispensers in 220 public parks and playgrounds. This would be an excellent resource for parents who always forget the sunscreen until it is too late, and for parents who cannot afford sunscreen. Even for those of us who cart around tubes of sunscreen wherever we go, this would be a good idea. If I saw a sunscreen dispenser, it would remind me to reapply.

“It’s a real public good that we can facilitate with little to no cost to the taxpayers,” O’Malley said. “This is a way that Boston can really lead. It’s the most prevalent type of cancer. Most people know someone who has suffered from skin cancer or has had a scare.”

I certainly do. My parents tanned religiously when I was a child. They applied baby oil instead of sunblock and even used silver screens to reflect light back up towards their faces. They’ve both had skin cancer multiple times, probably in large part because of that sort of behavior. That’s part of the reason I am so adamantly in favor of everyone wearing sunscreen at all times. (OK, most of the reason I wear it is probably aesthetic. I want to keep my skin looking as young as possible for as long as possible. But in this case vanity and health go hand-in-hand.)

According to The Boston Globe:

Each year in the United States, doctors diagnose about 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Another 73,000 people are stricken with melanoma, a more dangerous type of skin cancer that is expected to kill nearly 10,000 this year.


“It’s something that is extremely preventable and treatable,” said Tom Flanagan of the American Cancer Society. “If it’s caught in the early stages and removed, the survival rate is very, very high.”

The Boston proposal was the brainchild of a Boston University student who suggested putting sunscreen dispensers around Boston Common. Miami Beach already installed 50 such dispensers at public parks, pools, and playgrounds.

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