Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Hawaii bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs

Hawaii bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs

David Ige, Governor, Hawaii, signed a Bill 2571 in Honolulu, for imposing a ban on sunscreen creams which has coral-harming chemicals. "This new law is just one step toward protecting the health and resiliency of Hawaii's coral reefs", Ige said during the bill signing. Whale "dances" beautifully in Great Barrier ReefHawaii is the first state to enact this ban, which aims to protect a vital part of the ocean's ecosystem. Sunscreen containing the two chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate will only be available to those with a prescription. The ban will take effect in 2021.

"We are blessed in Hawaii to be home of some of the most handsome natural resources on the planet, but our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the Earth can have everlasting impacts", I said. The bill was proposed by Mike Gabbard, state senator and state legislator has approved it in May. "We've got limited amount of time", Lee said.

Rep. Chris Lee emphasized the importance of such environmental measures in a statement on Tuesday.

"When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the flawless place to set the gold standard for the world to follow", Gabbard told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are believed by scientists to be toxic to coral reefs and lethal for coral larvae.

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"Studies have documented the negative impact of these chemicals on corals and other marine life", Ige said in a statement.

According to the governor's office, the new law will go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Environmental sectors have expressed warm approval to the law but business groups, trade associations, and the healthcare sectors are showing criticism and urging that the law, restricting people from applying sunscreen at Hawaii will indirectly increase the risk of sunburn or long-term issues including skin cancer.

In early may, The Washington Post reported that many organizations have made public statements to show their disapproval. However, the law will not affect tourists who bring banned sunscreens from home.

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