Hawaiʻi Passes Bill Banning Sunscreen That Can Harm Coral Reefs
Reef Safe products by Tropical Seas®
We are excited to announce that Hawaiʻi is the first state in the country to pass a law banning the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing chemicals known to harm coral reefs. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are the two ingredients in many commercial sunscreens that are now prohibited from being sold in the state of Hawaii.
Aqua-Aston Hospitality, one of Hawaiʻi’s largest hotel management groups, was one of the businesses and organizations advocating for the passage of this new law.
“This is a huge win for Hawaii,” said Theresa Van Greunen of Aqua-Aston Hospitality. “We are proud of the role Aqua-Aston Hospitality played to raise the volume on this issue, by lending our voice and bringing a greater awareness that by choosing the right sunscreen it’s possible to protect your skin and help preserve the reef.”
The National Park Service estimates as much as 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs annually. Sun worshippers and water lovers are taking heed from their doctors and slathering on the protection, however many of these sunscreens can significantly damage the delicate coral found in tropical waters. The most popular sunscreen brands contain chemicals that contribute to coral bleaching. In fact, over 3,500 popular sunscreens contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. These include brands like Coppertone, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic.
As anticipated, many sunblock manufacturers oppose the ban on these sunscreens, however the passing of this new law will force them to start making reef safe sunscreen more available. Fortunately, reef safe sunscreens exist and Hawaii is now leading the way to encourage consumers to choose these safer options.
“We have a responsibility to take positive steps being taken to create a culture of sustainability and protect the Hawaiʻi we love and as we look to advance our #ForOurReef program, we will continue to advocate for sustainability in Hawaii, raising awareness not only about sunscreen and our reefs but also the importance of eliminating single-use plastics to protect our oceans,” said Van Greunen
This is a huge win for Hawaii and for the environment. In 2015, a study of coral reefs in Hawaiʻi, Israel and the Virgin island, found oxybenzone “leaches the coral of its nutrients and bleaches it white. It also disrupts the development of fish and other marine life.”
Ocean friendly sunscreens are available at Body Glove Cruise’s retail store. Our Reef Safe products by Tropical Seas® are scientifically proven to have minimal impact on aquatic environments, as well as be safe for humans. We are proud of our strong commitment to keep our oceans healthy, and proud of Hawaii for being the first state to lead the way in protecting our planet and environment.