California schoolchildren just received a bit more sun protection. Gov. Gray Davis last week signed a bill, SB 310, requiring schools to allow children to wear sun-protective clothing, including certain styles of hats, outdoors. Hats had been banned to discourage affiliation with gangs. California has the highest incidence of melanoma diagnoses and deaths in the country. Studies have linked development of the skin disease to sunburn in childhood.
The bill will go into effect Jan. 1.