If you live in Hawaii you’re probably aware of the impending ban on sunscreen containing certain chemicals that have been found to be harmful to the coral reefs. An environmental group in the state of Florida has also recently submitted a proposal to the federal government to impose a ban in coral reef areas in their state. The proposals would effectively ban the sale and use of sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. Hawaii passed a bill on May 1, 2018, banning the sale of sunscreens containing these ingredients, and while the law does not go into effect until January 1, 2021, your choice of sunscreen while swimming in these areas could go a long way in helping to preserve the coral reef areas in these states.
While Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are generally safe for use in sunscreen, research has shown that the use of these chemicals is dangerous in certain marine environments. Sunscreen washes off your body and is deposited onto the reef, which along with other environmental factors, is leading to the destruction of these beautiful areas. These particular chemicals can bleach and kill coral, even at very low concentrations.
It is estimated that as much as 14,000 tons of sunscreen washes off into coral reef areas every year. So what can you do about it? Read labels before purchasing sunscreen and look for products that are marine-friendly. Choose a sunscreen that does not contain Oxybenzone or Octinoxate, and is water resistant so it’s less likely to wash off into the water. Opt for a mineral-based sunscreen, or one made with Zinc.
In general, these chemicals are safe to use and act as effective and safe sunscreen, but if you’re going to be swimming, snorkeling, fishing or scuba diving near any coral reef, please consider using a mineral based sunscreen that does not contain either of these ingredients.
If you’re looking for a custom sunscreen for a promotion and are interested in products safe for use in these states, please visit our Coral Reef Sunscreen page for a great selection of zinc and mineral based sunscreens.