sunscreen tagged posts

The Ocean Needs You To Protect Your Sunscreen

The importance of sunscreen comes as no surprise. It protects your skin from the sun’s harmful UV radiation and helps prevent skin cancer, making it an essential part of daily skincare. But what you may not know is that many of the sunscreen brands stocked at your local chemist or drugstore are made with toxins that endanger a critically important ocean ecosystem.

Every year, up to 14,000 tons of sunscreen residue make their way into the ocean and contaminate coral reefs. Despite having a hard exoskeleton that gives them a plant-like appearance, coral reefs are actually made up of colonies of small animals called polyps. Often referred to as the rainforests of the sea, they shelter more than a quarter of marine life, making them among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet...

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Coral decline – is sunscreen a scapegoat?

Coral reef off Cancun, Mexico

Many household products contain ingredients to protect them against sun damage. These UV filters are found in plastics, paints and textiles, as well as personal care products such as sunscreens and moisturizers. UV filters are entering the aquatic environment in rivers, lakes and oceans.

Consider for a moment a beach goer swimming in the ocean or rain washing over plastic playground equipment and running into a stormwater drain – either directly or indirectly, UV filters end up making their way to a waterway.

UV filters are chemicals that work by either physically blocking or absorbing UV rays. There are two main types of UV filters: inorganic forms, which contain metal particles, such as titanium dioxide (TiO2) or zinc oxide (ZnO) and physically block sunrays like little mirrors; ...

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Palau is first country to ban ‘reef toxic’ sun cream

The Pacific nation of Palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life. From Wednesday, sun cream that includes common ingredients, including oxybenzone, is not allowed to be worn or sold in the country. Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau said: “We have to live and respect the environment because the environment is the nest of life.”

The island nation markets itself as a “pristine paradise” for divers.

A lagoon in Palau’s Rock Islands is a Unesco World Heritage site. The country has a population of around 20,000 dotted across hundreds of islands.

The ban – which was announced in 2018 – prohibits sun cream containing any of 10 ingredients. The list includes oxybenzone and octinoxate, which absorb ultraviolet light.

The International Coral Reef Fou...

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Hawaii bans sunscreens that harm coral reefs

child with sunscreen

Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Tuesday signed the first bill in the country that will ban sunscreens containing chemicals harmful to coral reefs. The bill, which was passed by state lawmakers in May, will go into effect January 1, 2021. At that point, the sale or distribution of over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, which help filter UV rays, will be prohibited.

A study by Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, a nonprofit scientific organization, found the chemicals cause bleaching, deformities, DNA damage and ultimately death in coral when they’re washed off beachgoers or discharged into wastewater treatment plants and deposited into bodies of water.

“Oxybenzone is really toxic to the juvenile form of corals,” said Craig Downs, a forensic ecotoxicologist and executive...

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Warning: Your sunscreen is killing our reefs

Two Surfers walking into the sea

Scientists have bad news for holiday-makers: the sunscreen protecting your skin as you swim or snorkel in the balmy tropical water might be killing the very coral reef and its amazing marine life that you came to enjoy. Many sunscreens contain oxybenzone, a chemical that helps filter out the ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer. Unfortunately, research indicates that it also makes corals more susceptible to the bleaching events that have damaged famed reefs around the world.

It is an example of how synthetic chemicals can have unintended consequences, strengthening the case for more rigorous risk assessment before they are used in industry. Many new substances, including oxybenzone, pass through wastewater plants unfiltered and end up in our rivers and oceans.

“This is a case for the p...

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