We Are Sunshine

Anti-sun warning signs hit world-famous Cocoa Beach in Florida

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

One of America’s most famous surfing beaches this week became home to 15 signs warning beach-goers to “slip, slap and slop.”

“It refers to slipping on a shirt, slapping on a hat and slopping on sunscreen to prevent DNA damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, the major culprit in the nation’s most common cancer,” Florida Today reported. “One in five Americans is expected to develop skin cancer during his or her lifetime.”

2008-07-22-over-slop-tanningnews-copy.jpgThe signs came about courtesy of a group calling itself The World Skin Cancer Foundation — started by 38-year-old Cocoa Beach resident Drew Filliben.

He took the idea from Australia’s “Slip, Slap and Slop” campaign started by sunscreen manufacturers and the dermatology community urging residents to “Slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sunscreen.” And while that campaign has been credited for teaching fair-skinned Australians to exercise caution in the summer, some have criticized it for fostering over-use of sunscreen at times of the year when sunburn isn’t possible in much of Australia.

So are the signs at a Florida beach such a bad idea?

“While we support the proper usage of sunscreen at beaches — and the concept of covering up on a Florida beach to prevent sunburn makes sense — we are worried about overzealous usage of such a program in climates and seasons where sunburn isn’t possible,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Those who profit from the ‘slop’ part have a tendency to promote over-usage of their product.”

Indeed, the Florida signs may go over the top, saying “Enjoy our beaches, but please protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.” (Click here to see the signs).

Simply referring to UV rays as harmful is overstatement for the sake of being alarmist. UV rays have positive effects too,” Levy said.