Friday, 20 July, 2018


Hawaii to ban sunscreens harmful to coral reefs

Hawaii will become the first state to restrict the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing chemicals that can damage the coral reef after Governor David Ige signs legislation later this week Hawaii to ban sale of sunscreen containing chemicals damaging to coral reefs
Kristine Garrett | 07 July, 2018, 06:25

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2571, Act 104-prohibiting the sale, offer of sale, and distribution of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawai'i, beginning January 1, 2021.

The bill, which Hawaii Governor David Ige signed on Tuesday, will not go into effect until 2021.

Scientists found that oxybenzone and octinoxate can cause young developing coral to die, as well as bleaching, DNA damage, and deformities to the reefs. Lim and other critics say people would be discouraged from wearing sunscreen altogether and skin cancer cases would increase. "This legislation is a big step forward for the protection of our coral reefs, marine life and human health". 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. "When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the flawless place to set the gold standard for the world to follow".

Environmentalists have taken the stance that without action now, the coral reefs of Hawaii will only suffer more unnecessary damage.

A recent statement by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association argued that SB 2571 will restrict the sale of at least 70 percent of sunscreens on the market.

"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. "By taking the lead on banning these unsafe chemicals in sunscreens, we've started a tidal wave which will help bring our coral reefs back to life", he told KHON2 News. It is particularly targeted at the sunscreens that consists the chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Ige signed the bill Tuesday but the law doesn't take effect on the islands until January 1, 2021. "We've got [a] limited amount of time".

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