Hawaii bans sale of sunscreens with coral-harming chemicals

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In an attempt to preserve its marine diversity, Hawaii became the first state to ban the sales of sunblocks that contain harmful chemicals.

Scientists found that oxybenzone and octinoxate can cause young developing coral to die, as well as bleaching, DNA damage, and deformities to the reefs.

"This new law is just one step toward protecting the health and resiliency of Hawaii's coral reefs", David Ige, the Hawaiian Governor, said as he signed the bill bringing the proposed ban into law. The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii has said it's concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores.

Jay Sirois, director of regulatory affairs for an association that represents sunscreen manufacturers, recently told NPR: "We're taking away a product, or products ... that have been shown over the course of time to be safe and effective" against the harmful effects of the sun. Coral reefs the world over are already having a rough go of things thanks to warming ocean temperatures and mankind's inability to clean up after itself.

Observations by the journal "Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology", say that sunscreens are accountable for 1.4 ton of toxic substance that flow into coral reefs every year around the world. What has been scientifically proven is that exposure to UV radiation from the sun causes skin cancer.

Bans the sale, offer of sale, or distribution of any sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate, or both, without a prescription issued by a licensed healthcare provider. "The ingredients within our products are clearly listed in the active ingredients on the label so that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions".

Hawaii Government prohibits sunscreen marketing that endangered coral reefs.

Ige is expected to sign a bill restricting the sale and distribution of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.

This law does not include products marketed or intended for use as a cosmetic.

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