Maryland tweaks sunscreen rules

July 3, 2011 at 1:38 AM
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ANNAPOLIS, Md., July 3 (UPI) -- Maryland health officials say they are rewording the state's summer camp sunscreen rules to remove any mention of contact between staff and children.

Parents must still grant permission for their children to be allowed sunscreen, but under changes made Friday night the policy "will be silent" about how the sunscreen is applied, said Clifford C. Mitchell, assistant health director for environmental health and food protection.

In an attempt to eliminate the possibility of inappropriate touching of campers by camp staff members or other campers, state officials had issued a policy June 10 that would have severely restricted who can apply sunscreen to children attending summer camps. The policy stated: "Camp staff should limit touching the camper as much as possible. Under no circumstances should campers assist each other in the application of sunscreen."

Many parents and experts say they were worried the rules would have resulted in an increase in sunburn cases.

"This is the biggest known carcinogen that children are exposed to. We should be asking camp counselors to take an active role in promoting skin protection," Maral Skelsey, a dermatologist in Chevy Chase, Md., said.

"Our intention is certainly not to discourage the use of sunblock," Mitchell said. "It's really to walk a fine line between protecting kids' skin and making sure they feel personally safe."

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