Avoid these sunscreens (they kill coral)

Chris Burns - May 9, 2018
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Avoid these sunscreens (they kill coral)

Two types of sunscreen were banned from sale in Hawaii in a State Senate action this week. Those sunscreens and sunblocks (whatever you’d like to call them) with oxybenzone and octinoxate were banned after enactment by the legislature of the state of Hawaii. According to the bill for the act, these chemicals kill coral – and you know what happens when all the coral dies, right?

“Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms.” The bill for Hawaii senate state act 2571 also included word that these chemicals “also induce deformities in the embryonic development of fish, sea urchins, coral, and shrimp and induce neurological behavioral changes in fish that threaten the continuity of fish populations.”

Man, you’re deforming the fish. Cut that out. The bill was passed, and the act takes effect on the first of the year 2019. At that time, the following goes into effect:

“Bans the sale, offer of sale, or distribution in the State of any SPF sunscreen protection personal care product that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate, or both, without a medically-licensed prescription.”

“Amazingly, this is a first-in-the-world law. So, Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens,” wrote Hawaii senator Mike Gabbard. “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.”

DO THIS INSTEAD: Try to aim for mineral sunscreens instead of chemical sunscreens. Look for the words “naturally-sourced” and “fragrance free” and look at the ingredients, always. If you find oxybenzone or octinoxate, steer clear!

The number one ingredient to look for – basically the only thing you need to have a sunblock that works, is zinc oxide. That’s a physical blocker of UV rays from the sun.

DESTROY YOUR PAST: The use of these sunscreens is not prohibited, yet, but it’d be really cool of you to destroy the liquid properly. Throw them in the garbage if you absolutely must, but the most optimal way to get rid of these containers of death is to bring them to your city’s landfill where they’ll almost certainly have a “Hazardous Waste and Electronics Recycling Center” – or something to that effect.


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