Hawaii Bans Sunscreen that Hurts Reefs

Posted on June 8, 2018 by

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Coral reefs have been dying for quite some time. Scientists discovered that a product in some sunscreens has been killing them. Now, Hawaii is trying to get those sunscreens banned to save the reefs. So what part of the sunscreen is harmful? The active ingredient oxybenzone.

A study published in October 2015 showed that oxybenzone, a popular UV-filtering ingredient, is threatening coral—especially in tourist-heavy areas such as Hawaii and the Caribbean. Not only does the chemical kill coral, it also causes early DNA damage that stunts the growth of the organisms living in it,” Refinery29 said. Common brands like Banana Boat have oxybenzone in it.

According to CNN, “About 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter the world’s reefs every year, according to a 2015 paper published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.”

Thousands of tourists come to see the reefs every year, and, if most of them are wearing sunscreen with oxybenzone, there is a lot of damage being done to the reefs. So what kind of sunscreen will not harm the reefs? Any sunscreen that is biodegradable is safe.

‘”Hawaii is the first state in the nation to pass a measure of this magnitude. The world was watching. We delivered. Preserve and protect our ocean environment,” \state Sen. Will Espero said on Twitter after the bill passed in his chamber.

The next time you are buying sunscreens for a beach trip, keep in mind that active ingredients like Oxybenzone harm coral, and biodegradable sunscreens are better for the environment.

Posted in: Amber Weiss