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Let's Explore Environmental Public Health

The environment where we live, work, and play affects our health. The Rhode Island Environmental Public Health Tracking Network makes connections between health and the environment. Our data can be used to:


Spotlight Data

States with Indoor Tanning Restrictions for Minors, 2009 vs 2021

Sunlight & Ultraviolet (UV) | Vulnerability & Preparedness: Sunlight & UV | Indoor Tanning Restrictions for Minors | (CDC EPHT Portal)

Key Findings

In 2009, only five states had any laws restricting minors from indoor tanning. By 2021, only five states did NOT have any laws restricting minors from indoor tanning.

Since 2013, children under 18 have been banned from using indoor tanning facilities in Rhode Island unless their parents sign a written consent that includes information about the cancer risks of tanning.

In 2018, Rhode Island passed a law to ban minors from using tanning facilities. The Rhode Island legislation (2018-S 2299B2018-H 7136) passed by the Senate eliminated the parental consent option, and also removes an exemption that currently allows minors with a doctor’s prescription to use tanning facilities.

Why It Matters

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35 increases a person’s risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent. One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them (97 percent) had used tanning beds. 

Learn more about skin cancer and how you can protect yourself and your family. Visit the CDC Melanoma Dashboard for additional information.

Take a closer look at the data. Read a data story.

In the News

February 18, 2022
RIDOH Funds Community Schoolyard Greening and Cooling Projects

RIDOH's Environmental Public Health Tracking and Climate Change and Health programs are distributing small grants of $10,000 each to three Health Equity Zones and their partners to complete projects to help cool schoolyards, address inequities in greenspace and shade, build climate resilience, and educate students and teachers on the importance of trees, shade, and clean air for health.

The effects of extreme heat are not felt evenly across all neighborhoods. Schools located in areas with low tree canopy often lack outdoor green spaces where children can play and learn safely out of the sun; have hotter classrooms; and are subject to excessive heat for children when walking to and from school. Click here to learn more about this project.


October 29, 2021
RIDOH's Cake/Heavy Metal Poisoning Outbreak Published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

Recently, a study titled Cake Decorating Luster Dust Associated with Toxic Metal Poisonings Rhode Island and Missouri, 2018-2019 was published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This details a foodborne outbreak investigation that was jointly conducted in 2018 by RIDOH’s Center for Food Protection, Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology, and the State Health Laboratories. Rhode Island’s investigation was the first to identify the "luster dust" cake decorating ingredient as an emerging risk for foodborne illness.

Press highlights include: