Hawaii Seeks a Ban on Chemical Sunscreens in Effort to Save Coral Reefs
By Vic Bishop
Around the world oceans coral reefs are dying as a result of bleaching, water temperature increases, poor stewardship, vandalism, tourism, and pollution; and worldwide attention is needed to protect them. Now, in an effort to save coral reefs, Hawaii is making an effort to ban certain chemical sunscreens for the impact they are having on the breathtaking coral reefs surrounding the islands.
Hawaiian Senator Will Espero has presented a state congressional bill which would outlaw the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, two UV-blocking chemicals which are disrupting coral reefs as beachgoers are washing tons of this stuff into the oceans.
These chemicals are now believed to cause a litany of problems for coral reefs and the development of baby coral:
Espero’s bill draws largely upon research done by US scientists led by Craig Downs, executive director of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Clifford, Virginia. In 2016, his team reported that oxybenzone and octinoxate could stunt the growth of baby corals, and that oxybenzone was toxic to seven coral species in lab tests1.
A 2008 study from a different group had found that oxybenzone is likely to cause coral bleaching both in the lab and in the wild in several tropical regions2. Other studies have suggested that oxybenzone also acts as an endocrine disruptor among marine creatures such as shrimps and clams3.
In ongoing follow-up work – which has not yet been published – Downs’ team detected oxybenzone contamination of up to 4,000 parts per trillion (ppt) in the waters off the most popular beaches of the Hawaiian island of Maui. An oxybenzone concentration of around 400 ppt over several days is enough to induce coral bleaching in warm waters, they say. The team suggests that when people snorkel or swim, sunscreen washes off their skin and out into the reefs.
Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources has already urged the public to use reef-friendly sunscreens, also noting that these chemicals are bad for human health:
Besides damaging coral, oxybenzone may have negative effects on human health. Oxybenzone and two other sunscreen chemicals, octinoxate and homosalate, have all been shown to cause disruptive reproductive system effects, due to their hormone-like activity. Oxybenzone and octinoxate have also been associated with moderate to high rates of skin allergy.” [Source]
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a national trade association for manufacturers based in Washington DC, says that it will oppose a ban until there is more evidence. “We sympathize with the desire to preserve Hawaii’s coral reef, but there is no scientific evidence that under naturally occurring conditions, sunscreen ingredients are contributing to coral-reef declines,” says a spokeswoman for the group.” [Source]
Once a sacred cow of health, sunscreen is increasingly in the spotlight for the negative ways in which they can actually harm us. Here are 9 things they don’t want you to know about sunscreen:
- There is no consensus that sunscreens actually prevent skin cancer.
- There’s some evidence that sunscreens might increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people.
- There are dozens of high-SPF products — but no proof they’re better.
- Too little sun might be harmful, reducing the body’s vitamin D levels.
- The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed development of cancer.
- Free radicals and other skin-damaging byproducts of sunscreens.
- Pick your sunscreen: nanomaterials or potential hormone disrupters.
- Europe has better sunscreens.
- The FDA is still not protecting consumers when it comes to sunscreens.
Read more articles by Vic Bishop.
Vic Bishop is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and OffgridOutpost.com Survival Tips blog. He is an observer of people, animals, nature, and he loves to ponder the connection and relationship between them all. A believer in always striving to becoming self-sufficient and free from the matrix, please track him down on Facebook.
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