A Must-Read before you buy your next bottle of sunscreen!
Hawaii just made a huge step in protecting the reefs around the islands becoming the 1st state to ban certain chemical-laden sunscreens; and Key West has followed up with their own law. These new laws will be effective January 1, 2021. This law bans the use of oxybenzone and octinoxate in sunscreens sold in the state.
Studies have shown that these chemicals, as well as others found in popular brands, have been linked to chemical bleaching, a deadly process that is decimating our reefs worldwide. Up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen are estimated to wash into our coral reefs annually, with most being in concentrated spots like popular tourist beaches and diving spots.
So what can you do? We need to still protect ourselves from the sun. Experts suggest wearing UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing, even your favorite t-shirt will be work if you can’t find UPF clothing. You will still need sunscreen for the exposed areas but far less. When buying sunscreen, be sure to look for those that do not have oxybenzone and octinoxate in the listed ingredients, as well as other harmful ingredients such as petrolatum (mineral oil) or titanium dioxide. Also, even if the bottle is labeled as “reef-safe” still take a close look. Since this is a relatively newer concept, the marketing for reef-safe sunscreen is still unchartered territory and could be misleading.
To help, check out the list from Hawaii.com on some popular picks when buying your next bottle.