Hawaii set to ban certain types of sunscreen

Science								Image Source Kyle Taylor

Science Image Source Kyle Taylor

Hawaii could soon be the first place in the world to ban the sale of sunscreens believed to be harmful to coral reefs.

If Hawaiian governor David Ige signs the bill into law, the state will be the first in the world to create such a sunscreen ban.

The bill would ban the sale of sun care products that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the bill was approved nearly unanimously and only 4 of 76 lawmakers were against it. "So, Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these risky chemicals in sunscreens".

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"When you think about it, our island paradise, surrounded by coral reefs, is the ideal place to set the gold standard for the world to follow", Gabbard added. It indicates that high levels of these chemicals have been found at popular swimming beaches and reef areas, including Waimea Bay, Hanauma Bay, and Waikiki Beach on Oahu and Honolua Bay and Ahihi-Kīnau natural area reserve on Maui. The law would go in effect beginning January 1, 2021. According to him, "Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these unsafe chemicals in sunscreens".

Several other analyses have shown that octinoxate and oxybenzone could halt the proliferation of corals that are under development.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which ranks sunscreen based on the chemical composition and effectiveness, the chemical is present in 65 percent of chemical sunscreens.

"Hawaii is the first state in the nation to pass a measure of this magnitude". The American Chemistry Council opposed the bill on the basis that sun exposure to humans is also a danger.

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One of the chemicals, oxybenzone, can be found in at least 3,500 skin care products, according to HuffPost.

But even a tiny amount of sunscreen containing oxybenzone could be enough to cause harm to corals.

And about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in coral reefs worldwide, according to that study.

"What we're really concerned with is that there aren't very many independent studies out there that have gone for peer review", said Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. "Oxybenzone and octinoxate, found in the majority of sunscreens, are safe and effective over-the-counter (OTC) active ingredients recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as important aides in decreasing the risk of developing skin cancer, the most common cancer in the U.S".

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