Posted on May 11 2018
Hawaii is the first state to approve a ban on sunscreen produced with chemicals that harm coral reefs.
Years of studies have shown threens have chemicals that damage — and sometimes kill — fragile coral reef systems.
Oxybenzone, which is found in more than 3,500 skin care products, is effective for protecting skin from damaging sun rays. However, a 2015 study revealed that the chemical is toxic to developing coral and increases the coral’s susceptibility to bleaching.
Jake Paterson, Director of We Are Feel Good Inc
"Stoked that Hawaii have banned the sale of reef-killing sunscreens! After spending most of my professional career in the water, it's always been a priority for me to keep our oceans clean. Help us protect coral reef systems around the world by choosing reef-friendly sunscreen! Always choose oxybenzone and octinoxate free."
“The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly,” researchers wrote in the study of the chemical’s effect on reefs in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
And about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in coral reefs worldwide, according to that study.
“Amazingly, this is a first-in-the-world law,” state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), who introduced the bill, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “So, Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens.”
“When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the perfect place to set the gold standard for the world to follow,” added Gabbard, who posted a video on Facebook last weekend of himself singing a song in support of the bill. “This will make a huge difference in protecting our coral reefs, marine life, and human health.”
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Is your sunscreen reef-friendly?
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are common filters used in sunscreen that cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms. Read more about the harmful effects here.