Report Title:

Sun Protection; Depts. of Education and Health; Establish Policy

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.C.R. NO.

4

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


HOUSE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, IN COOPERATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, TO ESTABLISH A SUN PROTECTION POLICY FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN AND A SUN PROTECTION PROGRAM TO EDUCATE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS.

 

 

WHEREAS, Hawaii's tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and numerous outdoor activities often result in both residents and visitors alike suffering from prolonged exposure to sunlight; and

WHEREAS, many people who are overexposed to sunlight are at higher risk of malignant melanoma and other forms of skin cancer; and

WHEREAS, skin cancer represents the most common of all cancers in the United States, accounting for thirty to forty per cent of all malignancies reported; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that for the period from 1973 through 1991, the incidence of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer, increased faster than any other form of cancer in the United States; and

WHEREAS, while melanoma may be lethal if not properly treated at an early stage, melanoma and other forms of skin cancer are easily prevented through reducing exposure to sunlight; and

WHEREAS, in addition to those who are at high risk for genetic or biological reasons and those who pursue high risk activities that are likely to lead to overexposure, it has been found that childhood exposure may increase a person's risk of skin cancer; and

WHEREAS, Australia, among other countries, has developed an innovative nationwide campaign, called "SunSmart", to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in its population, at least eighty per cent of whom have skin that is susceptible to skin cancer; and

WHEREAS, an integral part of the SunSmart campaign is the schools program, which was designed to ensure that all students -- ranging from pre-schools to universities -- are protected from skin damage caused by harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun; and

WHEREAS, since childhood exposure is closely related to the developments of melanoma later in life, the schools program is designed to have long-lasting benefits and has produced innovative teacher resources that have an integrated curriculum approach; and

WHEREAS, for example, the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, Australia, provides resources for teachers that enable them to implement SunSmart programs, and provides in-service training and support to educators and parents in school communities on all issues relating to skin cancer prevention; and

WHEREAS, the SunSmart policy requires school children to wear a hat during outdoor activities not only during the academic year, but throughout the entire calendar year; and

WHEREAS, Australia's SunSmart policy also promotes the use, by students and staff, of hats that shade the face, neck, and ears; the use of shirts with collars and sleeves that are made from a closely woven fiber; and the application of SPF15+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen before all outdoor activities and reapplication every two hours; and

WHEREAS, many primary schools in Australia also feature a "no hat, play in the shade" policy, under which students eat lunch inside or in the shade, line up in the shade, attend assemblies held inside, and have access to seats in the shade; children are encouraged to wear a hat when outdoors; and schools are encouraged to develop shade areas; and

WHEREAS, at least one private school in Hawaii -- Iolani School -- has already begun a sun protection program for its children, including the wearing of hats as an optional addition to the lower-school physical education uniform that provide adequate shade, are low in cost, and foster school spirit as well as sun safety; and

WHEREAS, Iolani School's program, which also includes a discussion of sun safety in the classroom, is the type of program that could be implemented easily and economically state wide to protect Hawaii's children from excessive sun exposure and to help them to develop lifelong health habits to prevent skin cancer; and

WHEREAS, although the Department of Health has adopted a Sun Protection Program to provide information and other public services to help prevent skin cancer and other skin problems related to overexposure to the sun, there is a need for the Department to adopt a similar program for school children; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that the health and welfare of Hawaii's schools children would be greatly enhanced if preventive measures are taken now, similar to Australia's SunSmart program and Iolani School's sun safety program, to protect them from the hazards of exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2002, the Senate concurring, that the Department of Health, in cooperation with the Department of Education, is requested to establish a sun protection policy for elementary school children and a sun protection program to educate elementary school children and their parents; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health, in establishing a sun protection policy and education program, is requested to review the SunSmart program in Australia, and Iolani School's sun safety program, and comparable innovative programs in other countries and other states on the United States mainland; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Health is requested to report its findings and recommendations, including any proposed implementing legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days before the convening of the Regular Session of 2003; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Health, the Superintendent of Education, the Chairperson of the Board of Education, the President of the Hawaii Skin Cancer Coalition, and the President of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii.

 

 

OFFERED BY:

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