Munich residents could soon be given free sunscreen at public bathing areas. The city council faction of the ÖDP and Munich Liste submitted a corresponding application on Monday. “As beautiful as summer is in Munich, the sun can be dangerous for our skin. It is therefore important to use sunscreen regularly to prevent skin cancer and other diseases,” said parliamentary group leader Tobias Ruff. The Netherlands, which has been offering free sun protection for a few days, served as a model for the initiative. In the city council, there is a broad majority in favor of the initiative, even if financial questions still need to be clarified.
The town hall coalition considers free sunscreen at public bathing areas “basically a good idea”. This is how SPD city councilor Klaus Peter Rupp puts it. His group will support the initiative in the city council, he said. The Greens parliamentary group leader Mona Fuchs was also positive. “The free offer of sunscreen in the Netherlands is certainly a sensible contribution to adapting to the greater accumulation of heat waves in Europe and to the prevention of skin cancer. That should also be considered in Germany,” she said. However, she still sees reservations about the payment. “A big city like Munich has to deal with the question of financing – I don’t see the city alone as responsible.”
The ÖDP also sees the problem, but first wants to offer the free service as quickly as possible. “Sunscreen dispensers based on the Dutch model should be set up in highly frequented places in Munich (e.g. municipal outdoor pools or bathing lakes) this summer, if possible,” says the application. If these are used well in the first season, as in the neighboring country, “contact should be made with health insurance companies and the Bavarian Ministry of Health to clarify future financing.” Group leader Ruff believes that the disinfectant dispensers from the corona pandemic could be used again for sunscreen, following the example of the Netherlands. “Therefore it is not necessary to invest in expensive infrastructure.”
Irrespective of this, the CSU would even expand the advance of the ÖDP. “Sunscreen dispensers would not only make sense at outdoor pools and bathing lakes, but also at daycare centers and schools,” said City Councilor Alexandra Gaßmann. For children, protection from solar radiation is “particularly important to prevent health problems.”
The initiative will also be welcomed by doctors and clinics. This conclusion can be drawn from a statement from the Munich Clinic, which also warned of the intense UV radiation on Monday. “There really is no such thing as a healthy tan. The fact that the skin turns brown is purely a protective mechanism. And not even a particularly effective one: the body’s own tan has at most a sun protection factor of four to six,” explained Daniela Hartmann, Senior Physician at the Dermatology Clinic in der Thalkirchner Strasse. Lying in the sun for too long and possibly not being adequately protected is “dangerous in the long run”. People should “always prefer adequate sun protection with a high sun protection factor to tanned skin”.
The Bavarian Red Cross also appeals to caution because of the expected temperatures of well over 30 degrees this week. “Don’t stay in the blazing sun and always wear a hat when you’re outside,” the statement said. And further: “Avoid physical exertion under the sun.” Brigitte Buchwald-Lancaster, chief physician for geriatric medicine at the Munich Clinic in Neuperlach, agrees. Seniors in particular should be careful and make sure they drink enough, she explained. Two to three liters a day would be good for everyone on hot days.