Reefs At Risk – Hawaii bans sunscreens with oxybenzone

Hawaii bans sunscreen with chemicals that can damage Coral Reefs

On July 3, 2018, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a bill that bans sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone or octinoxate, which have been shown to damage coral reefs, in Hawaii. The ban was described by state Senator Mike Gabbard as “a first-in-the-world law” to ban sunscreens to protect the reefs and will go into effect in 2021.

SB 2571 states: “Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms. These chemicals have also been shown to degrade corals’ resiliency and ability to adjust to climate change factors and inhibit recruitment of new corals. Furthermore, oxybenzone and octinoxate appear to increase the probability of endocrine disruption”.

The short 6-minute film Reefs At Risk about this problem just won the 2018 Environment Award at the recent San Francisco-based International Ocean Films Festival. Please visit the Reefs At Risk website and help spread the word!

Divers … when diving in coral reefs, please be sure that your sunscreen does not contain these chemicals.