Your Favorite Sunscreen May Become Illegal in Hawaii

Hawaii to Ban Sale of Sunscreens Linked to Coral Reef Damage

For the state, coral reefs have many benefits, such as protecting the coastline, maintain the marine life and most importantly its a key tourist attractions place for the state.

David Ige on Tuesday signed legislation that will ban the sale of sunscreens containing two chemicals believed to harm coral reefs. Senate Bill 2571 prohibits the distribution of nonprescribed sunscreens that contain the two chemicals.

It's hard to avoid these chemicals when purchasing sunscreen, as up to 70 percent of sunscreens now on the US market include oxybenzone or octinoxate.

Those traveling to Hawaii should bring other forms of sun protection, including protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, UV-blocking sunglasses, etc. "Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting impacts".

"This bill is a small first step worldwide to really caring about our corals and our reefs in a way that no one else anywhere in the world has done", he said during the bill signing. "We've got limited amount of time", Lee said.

State Sen. Roz Baker, who represents south and west Maui, said the bill has enormous significance because coral is such a fundamental part of a larger ecosystem important to the health of the planet. The chemicals can also kill new coral growths. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are used in more than 3, 500 of the world's most popular sunscreen products, including Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat.

Environmental sectors have expressed warm approval to the law but business groups, trade associations, and the healthcare sectors are showing criticism and urging that the law, restricting people from applying sunscreen at Hawaii will indirectly increase the risk of sunburn or long-term issues including skin cancer. Many organizations made public statements opposing the bans. Physical sunblock will still be available to residents and tourists looking to protect their skin, which contain minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to physically block UVA and UVB rays from damaging skin.

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