Hawaii bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs

Beachgoers are seen in Waikiki

Beachgoers are seen in Waikiki

"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. But did you know that some sun protection products contain ingredients that can damage and kill coral reef? Lim and other critics say people would be discouraged from wearing sunscreen altogether and skin cancer cases would increase.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), who sponsored the bill, said when lawmakers passed the measure that Hawaii is "on the cutting edge".

Oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are in most sunscreen products, are believed by scientists to be toxic to coral reefs.

Roughly one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond fix, while another two-thirds live under serious threat, according to WWF Global.

"The legislature further finds that environmental contamination of oxybenzone and octinoxate persists in Hawaii's coastal waters, as the contamination is constantly refreshed and renewed every day by swimmers and beachgoers", according to the bill.

If the ban is passed, it would take effect in 2021. Others will have to buy sunscreens without these chemicals or bring their own sunscreen with them to Hawaii. "We've got [a] limited amount of time".

"This irresponsible action will make it more hard for families to protect themselves against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays", the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said in a statement. "The ingredients within our products are clearly listed in the active ingredients on the label so that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions".

Hawaii became the the first U.S. State to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate. Ige also felt that the delayed effective date would provide ample time for sunscreen manufacturers to create and produce new formulations free from chemicals harmful to the reefs.

This law does not include products marketed or intended for use as a cosmetic.

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