Fans watch baseball in Des Moines.

Projects are underway at several minor league baseball parks that are designed to make sure Iowans return home “safe” without a painful sunburn. 

 Audio:  Radio Iowa’s Pat Curtis’ ballpark report :65.

The Iowa Cubs, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings and the Burlington Bees will be providing free sunscreen in their stadiums this season along with sun-safe messages.

Holly Smith, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, helped organize the initiative.

“Aside from the sun block, we are going to have lip balm available on certain days,” Smith said. “It will be SPF-30 because a lot of times people don’t even think about their lips getting sunburned, but that’s important as well.” There will also be free skin cancer screening days at the four ballparks.

Smith, a skin cancer survivor herself, had surgery on her nose eight months ago. “I’m very fair-skinned…I’m from the generation where we would lay out in the sun and slather ourselves in baby oil and try to get tan. I finally realized as an adult, I would never get tan,” Smith said.

“Unfortunately, (the surgery) is one of the consequences I’ve had to experience as an adult.” Other partners in the initiative include the Iowa Cancer Consortium, Mercy Cancer Center (Des Moines), Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center (Cedar Rapids), Hall-Perrine Cancer Center (Cedar Rapids), Mercy Medical Center (Clinton), Medical Associates (Clinton) and Genesis Health System (Davenport).

May is skin cancer awareness month.