Hawaii bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs


Gov. David Ige (D) signed a bill on Tuesday banning nearly all sunscreens that contain certain chemicals that damage coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.

Raw Elements products are free of these environment-damaging chemicals and only contain organic, non-GMO ingredients like rosemary oil, sunflower seed oil and mango butter, and claim to be the "safest, most effective sunscreen on the planet".

Gov. David Ige is expected to sign the bill, which declares that the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate "have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii's marine environment and residing ecosystems" when sunscreen containing them inevitably washes off the skin of bathers and swimmers.

Up to 70 percent of sunscreens sold on the USA market contain oxybenzone and up to 8 percent contain octinoxate, which often appears on the labels as octyl methoxycinnamate, National Public Radio reported.

When the legislation enters into result, sun block consisting of oxybenzone and also octinoxate will just be readily available to those with a prescription from a doctor. Both are widely used in sunscreen, with oxybenzone present in the blood of 96 percent of Americans, according to the Environmental Working Group. Coral reefs are also a popular draw for tourists.

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"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", he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

"So, Hawaii is definitely on the cutting edge by banning these unsafe chemicals in sunscreens", Gabbard said in an email to the newspaper.

State Rep. Mike Gabbard (D) touted the law as a "first-in-the-world" measure when it passed the state legislature in May.

With all the troubles facing coral reefs it might seem like sunscreen would be the least of our worries, but the amount of sunblock that finds its way into the oceans is actually pretty astounding. "We've got to take action to make sure we can protect the other half as best we can because we know that time is against us".