Hawaii bans sale of sunscreens with coral-harming chemicals

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 is ending the sale of sunscreen containing two chemicals believed to harm coral reefs.

Bans the sale, offer of sale, or distribution of any sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate, or both, without a prescription issued by a licensed healthcare provider.

Sunscreens containing chemical substances harmful to coral reefs will be banned in the USA state of Hawaii from 2021, U.S. local media reported Wednesday.

"This bill is a small first step worldwide to really caring about our corals and our reefs in a way that no one else anywhere in the world has done", he said during the bill signing.

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Sunscreen, which often comes off while swimming or playing in the ocean, bleaches the reefs which gives them a lighter appearance and can also contribute to their death. It is estimated by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, as reported by Mic, that 55 gallons of sunscreen are near or in the water around Maui alone, each day. Lim and other critics say people would be discouraged from wearing sunscreen altogether and skin cancer cases would increase.

Executive director at the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, Craig Downs stated that, "Juvenile corals are a thousand times more sensitive to the toxic effect of these chemicals than adult [corals]". According to Mother Jones, State Rep. Chris Lee said the measure was necessary to protect the state's remaining corals.

"In my lifetime, our planet has lost about half its coral reefs". Consumers will instead have to buy reef-safe sunscreens lacking the chemicals. "We've got [a] limited amount of time".

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