Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Hawaii to ban sunscreens harmful to coral reefs

Avoid sun damage by covering up with hats and long sleeves and limit exposure during the hottest part of the day Hawaii to ban sale of sunscreen containing chemicals damaging to coral reefs
Kristen Harrington | 06 July, 2018, 22:13

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2571, Act 104-prohibiting the sale, offer of sale, and distribution of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawai'i, beginning January 1, 2021. Merchants carrying sunscreens will have until January of 2021 to cease the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Ige is expected to sign a bill restricting the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. Consumers will instead have to buy reef-safe sunscreens lacking the chemicals.

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State Rep. Chris Lee, that stands for Honolulu suburban areas, stated the regulation is an essential action in order to help Hawaii hand down its coral reefs, sea, tourist market and also way of living to the future generation.

"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. Both are widely used in sunscreen, with oxybenzone present in the blood of 96 percent of Americans, according to the Environmental Working Group.

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Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen are released onto coral reefs every year, a 2015 paper found.

"Studies have documented the negative impact of these chemicals on corals and other marine life", the Democratic governor said. Lim and other critics say people would be discouraged from wearing sunscreen altogether and skin cancer cases would increase.

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Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, and the man responsible for introducing the legislation, hailed it as the gold standard for the world to follow.

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