Sunscreen is Destroying Coral Reefs, So Hawaii is Banning It

Hawaii outlaws all sunscreens containing chemicals known to harm coral and fish

Hawaii just passed a law banning sunscreens containing chemicals known to harm coral reefs.

It’s the first law of its kind anywhere in the world, taking effect in January 2021.

The banned chemicals are oxybenzone and octinoxate, common ingredients in over 3,500 sunscreens, including Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Hawaiian Tropic.

The chemicals, which block UV light, wash off into the ocean and cause severe damage to coral and fish. Researchers estimate that around 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in the world’s coral reefs every year.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate bleach and leach nutrients from coral.

“Even a small drop is enough to damage delicate corals,”
NPR reports.

The chemicals are also known endocrine disrupters, causing feminization of male fish, reproductive diseases, and embryonic deformation.

They’re also harmful to humans, causing dermatitis in up to a quarter of us, reduced sperm development and viability, reduced prostate weight in mature males, and reduced uterine weight in juvenile females.

Want a sunscreen that doesn’t harm coral, fish or humans? Try one of these:

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