Reef-Killing Sunscreens May Be Banned First In Hawaii

May 04, 2018, 00:43
Reef-Killing Sunscreens May Be Banned First In Hawaii

They passed a bill that would establish in state law selected provisions of President Barack Obama's health care law in case "Obamacare" is ever repealed at the federal level.

"I won't think it hurt the coral reefs", said Lochlan Ajimine, a 6th grade student in Nicole Ross' science class.

Specifically, scientists have identified two chemicals within sunscreen that act as reef-bleaching culprits: oxybenzone (an endocrine disruptor that turns male fish into female fish) and octinoxate.

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By banning all sunscreens that contain these chemicals, Hawaii hopes to avert devastation of its coral reefs, or at least slow the process and give the coral a chance to recover.

The chemicals found in sunscreens are widely believed to be partly responsible for the damage inflicted on the world's coral reefs and other forms of marine life.

The ban, once signed by Gov. David Ige, will make Hawaii the first state in the country to pass such kind of law and would go into effect on January 1, 2021. It includes bees wax, shea butter, a mix of oils and non nano zinc oxide for sun protection.

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As BuzzFeed mentions, the offending chemicals are essentially ubiquitous sunscreen components and often make their way into face lotions, too.

Although the Environmental Working Group says most sunscreens on the market are chemical formulas, there's no shortage of alternatives to oxybenzone and octinoxate. Popular tourist beaches in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands were among the highest concentrations of these products.

Reef-friendly sunscreens are already available. Laura Thielen (D), told local news station KHON 2.

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Tuesday will be a attractive day with mostly sunny skies and highs near 80 degrees! Some 80 degree readings are even possible. Clouds then return Friday evening with a better chance for some passing showers as a cold front sweeps through the area.

This is "a first step to help our reef and protect it from deterioration", said Hawaii state senator Donna Mercado Kim, a fellow Democrat who introduced the measure. "So really it's damaging our corals no matter whether you're wearing it on land or at the beach". And while the company will continue to make products containing the two potentially banned ingredients, which are "clearly listed in the active ingredients on the label", Edgewell also states that it will "continue to ensure [they] comply with all relevant regulations concerning oxybenzone and octinoxate". What are these chemicals, and how do they harm coral reefs and human health? Manufacturers, however, still have a few years to decide their plan of action as the ban won't come into effect before 2021 (provided it gets approval from the governor).

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