Hawai'i Bans Reef-Toxic Sunscreen, and It's About Time!
Hawai'i is officially the first state to pass a bill banning the sales of reef-toxic sunscreen, and we are so proud! The bill, which will go into effect in 2021, bans sunscreen containing toxic contaminants oxybenzone and octinoxate. Coral reefs are VITAL to the ocean and the entire world, and it is about time we start acting like it!
Coral reefs are believed to have the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem. Isn’t that incredible? Although reefs only make up less than 1% of the earth’s surface, they provide food and shelter to about one quarter of the ocean’s creatures. Say what?! Wrap your heads around THAT! These critters depend on the health of these coral reefs, a reality that has been dwindling rapidly over time.
It is estimated that more than 90% of the world’s coral reefs will die by the year 2050. Isn’t that staggering? That may seem far-fetched--simply a dooming estimate that may or may not happen. But consider this, in just the past two years HALF of the famous Great Barrier Reef has died due to bleaching. Forbes Magazine states that, “The Great Barrier Reef, once a colorful and visible display of biodiversity and a symbiotic ecosystem, now resembles a ghost town where life once flourished.” As home (and nourishment) to such a large and diverse group of aquatic creatures, wouldn’t it make sense to do everything we could to protect these vital and beautiful living providers?
There are multiple factors that have lead to the death of coral reefs. One key weapon used in their death is actually what we use to shield ourselves from the sun. Everytime we use sunscreen, we are either contributing to the murder of coral reefs, and inadvertently countless creatures, or we are not. The choice is up to us.
What we choose to put on our bodies affects the reefs, the species that depend on them, and ultimately the entire world. Be kind to the ocean, it's critters, and the entire planet by avoiding any sunscreen that kills or bleaches coral, awakens coral viruses, and pollutes the water and the creatures in it. Avoid anything containing toxins such as: oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate, or 4-methylbenzylidene camphor.
On May 1st, 2018, Hawai’i became the first state to pass a bill banning the sale of sunscreen containing coral-harming chemicals (oxybenzone and octinoxate). Although the bill will not go into effect until 2021, we do not have to wait. Only use sunscreen that is safe for the reef and make sure to spread awareness to friends and family. It is our responsibility to protect this planet for all of the future generations.
Protecting our skin should not mean killing the environment. Humans do not have to be in conflict with the planet. The more we realize we need the environment, the more we will make choices that benefit the entire planet, and inadvertently, ourselves.