Free sunscreen available at R.I. beaches

DISPENSERS WITH free sunscreen are to appear at all Rhode Island beaches this summer. /COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
DISPENSERS WITH free sunscreen are to appear at all Rhode Island beaches this summer. /COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

PROVIDENCE – Beach-goers in Rhode Island will have access to free sunscreen this summer thanks to a partnership between the state and a sunscreen company founded by a longtime Ocean State lifeguard.

Dispensers full of Raw Elements sunscreen, are planned at all state beaches and some parks. With an SPF of 30, the natural sunscreen is water resistant for 80 minutes, safe for all ages environmentally safe, according to Brian Guadagno, who created Raw Elements after working for more than 25 years as an ocean rescue lifeguard.

The formula also complies with new reef-safe sunscreen legislation passed in Hawaii and Key West and meets the FDA’s proposed rule on ingredients that are generally recognized as safe and effective.

The dispensers are a result of a collaboration between Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, the R.I. Department of Health, the state’s Department of Environmental Management, the Partnership to Reduce Skin Cancer in Rhode Island and South County Dermatology.

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“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,” DEM director Janet Coit said. “Your skin will be happy you did.”

Rhode Island is the first state in the nation to offer such a program, officials say. Funding comes from the state, a federal grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, South County Dermatology and Raw Elements.

For the past two summers, Narragansett and Raw Elements have run a similar complimentary sunscreen program, which served as a model for the statewide launch. More than 10,000 people a day took advantage of the dispensers during the busiest weeks of summer, program sponsors say.