Hawaii Banning Sunscreen Harmful to Coral Reefs

Hawaii banning sunscreen harmful to coral reefs. On Tuesday, State lawmakers approved a bill that bans skin-care companies from selling sunscreens that contain chemicals believed to harm coral reefs. The bill says the sunscreens containing harmful chemicals are contributing to the destruction of the coral reefs of the state and other ocean areas.

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 Jan. 1, 2021.

Scientists have argued that the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate commonly used in more than 3,500 of the world’s most popular sunscreen products increases the coral’s susceptibility to bleaching and stops regeneration of reefs that make them less resilient to climate change.

“The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly,” explains the study of the chemical’s effect on reefs in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The report says sunscreen products including Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Hawaiian Tropic would be prohibited as they contain these chemicals. However, doctor’s prescription sunscreens containing the hazardous chemicals would still be allowed to purchase.

Doug Johnson, a dermatologist and spokesman for the Hawaii Dermatology Society, said, “A ban on these sunscreens in Hawaii — the state with the highest daily UV index warnings and very high rates of skin cancer and melanoma — would be a public health disaster.”


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