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Free sunscreen dispensers installed at New Westminster pools

You can get some quality SPF30 mineral sunscreen at Moody and Hume Park outdoor pools and the Grimston Park wading pool this summer.
Lifeguard Moody Park Pool sunscreen
A lifeguard shows off the new public sunscreen dispenser at Moody Park Outdoor Pool in New Westminster.

Worried about sun exposure and skin cancer? You can now get free sunscreen from public dispensers at New Westminster's outdoor pools.

Visitors to the Moody Park and Hume Park outdoor pools, as well as Grimston Park wading pool, can help themselves from the new dispensers thanks to an effort by the Save Your Skin Foundation and medical student Samuel Farag, with support from the City of New Westminster and B.C. Cancer.

City employees can also access a free sunscreen dispenser at the city's works yard.

A press release notes the dispensers will be automatic and touchless, and they'll provide free, Health Canada-approved SPF30 sunscreen for anyone who needs it. The dispensers will contain mineral sunscreen, a zinc oxide-based sunscreen that's free from chemical sunscreen filters, common allergens and toxic ingredients including oxybenzone, avobenzone, retinyl palminate, PEG and sodium lauryl sulphate.

"Summers are becoming increasingly hotter and drier, and the health and safety of our community is always our number 1 priority," said Mayor Jonathan Cote in the press release. "We are excited to participate in this initiative to ensure everyone has free access to sunscreen so our residents and visitors can protect their skin while enjoying our parks."

Dr. Cheryl Peters, senior scientist for cancer prevention at B.C. Cancer and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control,  pointed out that skin cancer is one of the most common and most preventable cancers.

"Increasing the availability and accessibility of sun safety protections, such as sunscreen, in a variety of recreational and occupational settings can help reduce the risk for skin cancer," she said.

Save Your Skin Foundation is a patient-led not-for-profit organization that's dedicated to the fight against non-melanoma skin cancers, melanoma and ocular melanoma through education, advocacy and awareness initiatives.

Tips for keeping your skin safe in the sun

  • Limit your time in the direct sunlight, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Seek shade.
  • Cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Use sunscreen, specifically one labelled broad-spectrum, SPF30.
  • Protect your lips with lip sunscreen or zinc oxide.
  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours or after swimming.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
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