Hawaii is on its way of becoming the first state in the US to ban the sale of sunscreen as they have been proved to be toxic to both coral reefs and marine life
If you are packing your bags and on your way to Hawaii, don’t count on purchasing sunscreen from the beach as a bill to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain two types of chemicals, toxic to the ocean, was passed by the state legislature on Tuesday and is on its way to the governor’s office for his signature. If signed, the ban will start in 2021.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are both chemicals that destroy the oceans worldwide, according to the latest research which showed that these two chemicals break down coral by leaching it of nutrients and even disrupt the development of fish and marine life, such as sea urchins and algae.
Shockingly, around 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion ends up in coral reefs worldwide, every year. The highest amounts of sunscreen were found, as expected, in tourist-crowded beaches, such as Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.
At the iconic snorkeling spot Hanauma Bay in Hawaii, a study conducted by Haereticus Environmental Laboratory discovered that the 2,600 daily visitors left around 412 pounds of sunscreen in the ocean. Sadly, the detrimental effects of the lotion can occur in concentrations as low as 62 parts per trillion, equivalent to one drop of oxybenzone in six Olympic-size swimming pools.
However, the study has also shown that the pollution of the ocean comes from both people wearing sunscreen and wastewater streams that are sent to the sea.
“More and more people realize, as you go home and shower the water is getting treated and put out into the ocean,” Hawaii state Sen. Laura Thielen said. “So really it’s damaging our corals no matter whether you’re wearing it on land or at the beach.”