Hawaii to Ban Sunscreens Due to Destruction of Coral Reefs

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Hawaii to ban sunscreens due to destruction of coral reefs, according to a report published on May 5, 2018.

Lawmakers in Hawaii are planning to ban sunscreens owing to the destruction of coral reefs caused by the chemicals used in the manufacturing of sunscreens. According to the lawmakers, by January 2021, a ban will be brought into place if the bill gets approved.

Oxybenzone is present in around 3,500 sun protection products, which are currently available to the consumers. As per the bill, chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral, as increasing bleaching of coral reefs leads to extreme stress and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms. Moreover, the ability to adjust to climate change and inhibit recruitment of new corals, and resiliency in corals have degraded due to these chemicals.

Mike Gabbard, state senator who proposed the ban, said, “Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens. When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the perfect place to set the gold standard for the world to follow. This will make a huge difference in protecting our coral reefs, marine life, and human health.”

However, there have been opposition from the Hawaii Medical Association, who raised concerns over the public health impact of banning certain types of sun lotion on the islands. The organization’s executive director told that they have got various public health concerns about sun exposure and skin cancer.

A study published in 2015 concluded that chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate are highly toxic to juvenile corals and other marine life.

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