Hawaii will soon ban thousands of sunscreen products due to the fact that they cause tremendous harm to coral reefs.
The next time you are on vacation in Hawaii, you had better choose the right sunscreen. The 50th state will become the first state to severely restrict sales of certain sunscreens if the governor ends up signing a bill that was passed by the state legislature recently that would ban the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate.
The ban would go into effect on January 1, 2021, and the hope is that the bill would help “preserve marine ecosystems.” Studies show that oxybenzone harms fragile coral reefs after the water washes it off the skin of sunbathers and swimmers. The chemical, also called BP-3, is believed to cause DNA damage and deformities to young coral.
The problem is that this ingredient is used in more than 3,500 skincare products sold worldwide, so the ban will restrict a lot of popular products. Instead, people looking to catch some rays in Hawaii will need to use sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are not as popular due to the white sheen they leave on the skin.
“A study from a team of international scientists has found that a common chemical in many sunscreen lotions and cosmetics is highly toxic to juvenile corals and other marine life,” claims a statement from the National Ocean Service. “Oxybenzone, or BP-3, is found in more than 3,500 skin care products worldwide for protection against the sun’s harmful effects. The compound has been found entering the environment both through wastewater effluent and directly from swimmers wearing sunscreens.”