Hawaii is set to become the first US state to ban the use of sunscreen products that contain the ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate.
This comes after researchers have discovered that these chemicals are harmful to the ocean ecosystems. Even though these chemicals help humans to protect their skin from the strong UV rays that can cause sunburns and skin cancers, they don’t help to protect our oceans. These chemicals have been found to seep into the coral and can cause coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is when warmer sea temperatures kill the algae living in the tissues of the coral, thus changing the color of the reefs to white, putting these coral reefs under more stress that can eventually lead to mortality.
According to a paper found in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, about 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter the world’s reefs every year. This sunscreen is already affecting some of the coral reefs near the Hawaiian Islands, and the matter is only expected to worsen if no action is taken place. Thankfully, state lawmakers in the state passed a bill about this issue on Tuesday to hopefully help improve the situation. Now it’s up to Governor David Ige to decide whether this bill will be enacted. If it’s approved, it would go into effect on January 1, 2021.
Today, the #Hawaii state leg passed a measure to ban the sale of sunscreens w/ 2 toxic chemicals, and it now heads to @GovHawaii’s desk for his signature. We must do all that we can to protect & preserve our beautiful oceans in #Hawaii & around the world for generations to come
— Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiPress) May 2, 2018