Monday, 16 July, 2018

Hawaii becomes first state to ban certain suncreens

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
Sandra Phillips | 06 July, 2018, 22:12

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.

Chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate that block skin exposure to ultraviolet rays are severely harmful to coral, according to nonprofit organization Haereticus Environmental Laboratory.

Up to 70 percent of sunscreens sold on the US market contain oxybenzone and up to 8 percent contain octinoxate, which often appears on the labels as octyl methoxycinnamate, National Public Radio reported. Consumers will instead have to buy reef-safe sunscreens lacking the chemicals.

During the signing ceremony, Ige said the state also needs to fight invasive species, pollution from land runoff and climate change to protect the reefs.

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Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen are released onto coral reefs every year, a 2015 paper found.

However, critics say there is not enough evidence to support the claim that the chemicals are bad for coral reefs. The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii has said it's concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores.

Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, and the man responsible for introducing the legislation, hailed it as the gold standard for the world to follow.

Leaders have to act rapidly to conserve exactly what reefs globe has actually left, he stated. We know the tide is against us. "We've got [a] limited amount of time".

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