Hawaii to ban sale of sunscreen containing chemicals damaging to coral reefs

Saturday, 07 Jul, 2018

While it may apply by 2021, that is because 70percent of the sunscreen manufacturers use the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.

"This irresponsible action will make it more hard for families to protect themselves against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, and it is contrary to the many concerns expressed by Hawaii's medical doctors, dermatologists, and public health experts", the association argued. Used widely in sunscreens as well as other cosmetic ointments, the chemical is banned in the European Union. It also refers to previous research that estimates that between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion, which contains anywhere between 1 to 10 percent of oxybenzone, floats into coral reefs every year. The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii has said it's concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores.

Leaders have to act rapidly to conserve exactly what reefs globe has actually left, he stated. "This legislation is a big step forward for the protection of our coral reefs, marine life and human health".

Environmentalists have taken the stance that without action now, the coral reefs of Hawaii will only suffer more unnecessary damage. The prohibition takes effect in 2021. Others will have to buy sunscreens without these chemicals or bring their own sunscreen with them to Hawaii.

With all the troubles facing coral reefs it might seem like sunscreen would be the least of our worries, but the amount of sunblock that finds its way into the oceans is actually pretty astounding.

"Some of our products contain FDA-approved amounts of oxybenzone and octinoxate, active ingredients that are created to protect skin against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light and provide critical broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays", the company said.

"Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that excess sun exposure without effective sunscreen increases the risk of developing skin cancer in both adults and children", the association said in a statement in May.

Tuesday's signing makes Hawaii the first US state to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate.