Hawaii is the first location in the world to ban two chemical ingredients commonly found in certain sunscreens. Scientists say the two chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are harmful to the fragile coral reef ecosystem. It is estimated approximately 14,000 tons of these chemicals enter the ocean annually causing harm.
“The legislature finds that two chemicals contained in many sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii’s marine environment and residing ecosystems, including coral reefs that protect Hawaii’s shoreline,” the bill reads. “Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms.”
The bill bans skin care companies from selling products containing these two chemicals anywhere on the island, effective 2021 (but individuals with a prescription from a licensed health care provider will still have access to the products).
Physical sunscreens containing natural alternatives zinc oxide and titanium oxide do not cause environmental harm, and are capable of blocking the sun's UV rays.
Excerpted From Hawaii to Become First in the World to Ban Sunscreens Harmful to the Environment, Fortune Magazine | Written By Renae Reints | July 2, 2018