Could sunscreen be destroying our coral reefs? Hawaii lawmakers say yes

Elias Hubbard
May 7, 2018

Yeah, you read that right because Hawaii is all set to become the first USA state to ban the sale of sunscreens as the toxic chemicals present in them are harming corals reefs and marine life. With that aspiration in mind and with the fate of coral reefs and oceanic life certainly worthy of more consideration, this legislative push makes flawless sense for solidifying guiltless enjoyment of a journey to Hawaii. Scientists have found that the composition of sunscreens include oxybenzone and octinoxate, which destroy the coral, washing them of nutrients and hinder the development of marine fauna and flora, for example - are harmful to sea urchins and algae.

Jörg Wiedenmann, head of the Coral Reef Laboratory at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, acknowledges that chemicals in cosmetic products are not the only factor in the degradation of the marine environment. As per the reports, on Tuesday, the Hawaiian Lawmakers have passed a bill that puts a ban on the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals.

The primary culprits are octinoxate and oxybenzone, which are in nearly 65 percent of non-mineral sunscreens, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Senate Bill 2571, introduced by state Sen.

"Amazingly, this is a first-in-the-world law", said Gabbard in an e-mail.

"Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these unsafe chemicals in sunscreens", Mr Gabbard said. "When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the ideal place to set the gold standard for the world to follow".

If Gov. David Ige signs the bill into law, Hawaii will be the first state the first in the nation to enact such a law.

The new bill got support from Friends of Hanauma Bay, Surfrider Foundation Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, the Office of the Hawaiian Affairs as well as many non-profit environmental groups.

Edgewell Personal Care, which manufactures Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic sunscreens, said some of its products are already available without oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Some experts oppose the ban because they believe it will lead to more people neglecting sunscreen altogether, which could lead to skin cancer. A clause has been included in the bill so that those with a medical prescription are still able to purchase and use products containing the soon-to-be-banned ingredients. Plus, there are plenty of chemical sunscreens that don't contain either oxybenzone or octinoxate.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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