Miscellaneous - sunscreen chemical ban

90 percent of sunscreen brands sold are taking a serious toll on the environment and contribute to the bleaching and inevitable death of coral. common sunscreen ingredients octinoxate and oxybenzone (a.k.a. benzophenone-3 and BP-3), have proven to be toxic to living coral. This toxicity occurs even at a concentration equivalent to about one drop of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool. it causes destructive mutations at a genetic level, and higher concentrations of the chemical also directly correlate with increased instances of coral bleaching, which is what happens when the symbiotic algae that live in coral and color it are killed off, leaving a white skeleton. Our legislature passed a bill that bans the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone or octinoxate starting in 2020. And recently, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban both chemicals.
Coral reefs provide half the world’s oxygen and a third of its carbon absorption while also protecting our island against storms and bringing in tourism and food production. “The reef is like the supermarket of the entire ecosystem,” says Dr. Andrew Rossiter, executive director of the Waikiki Aquarium. It’s the basis for sustaining life, both below the ocean’s surface and above. And it’s remarkably easy for you to make a difference—a huge difference, in fact. The only true reef-safe ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide. 

Friends of Hanauma Bay encourage all visitors to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to check the ingredients of their sunscreen products and to not use products containing oxybenzone.  When choosing a sunscreen, look for the following active ingredients: zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are safe mineral sunscreens. Please read up on the issues of sunscreen and the health of our corals.

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate have been banned from Hawaii. The other chemicals on this list are also harmful.  Please don't use any lotion which contains any of the following chemicals.

The HEL LIST includes:

  • Any form of microplastic sphere or beads.
  • Any nanoparticles like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Octocrylene
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Methyl Paraben
  • Ethyl Paraben
  • Propyl Paraben
  • Butyl Paraben
  • Benzyl Paraben
  • Triclosan
Read more here:
https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/your-sunscreen-destroying-coral-reefs?suppress=true&utm_source=greenlife&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter
https://www.popsci.com/hawaii-sunscreen-ban-coral
http://www.haereticus-lab.org/protect-land-sea-certification/
https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/

Hawaii News Now – Report of Water Sampling at Hanauma Bay
Hawaii News Now report of water sampling at Hanauma  Bay by Dr. Craig Downs.  Sampling is to determine if there is contamination in Hanauma Bay from Oxybenzone or other toxins.

CBS News Report
CBS News video reporting on Hawaii’s efforts to ban Oxybenzone from all Hawaii beaches

Documentary By The RedfordCenter
Documentary video by The RedfordCenter and supported by Friends of Hanauma Bay entitled Reefs At Risk: What’s In Your Sunscreen

News Articles From The New York Times
Article from the New York Times entitled: Is Your Sunscreen Poisoning the Ocean
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/travel/most-sunscreens-can-harm-coral-reefs-what-should-travelers-do.html

Hawaii DLNR and FOHB Recommended Reef-Safe Sunscreen Products
Listing of non-Oxybenzone sunscreen products recommended by both Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Friends of Hanauma Bay (FOHB).

Oxybenzone-Free Worldwide Facebook Page
A page launched on Facebook to provide information on the threat of Oxybenzone to the world’s oceans and seas.

THE REEF-RIGHT STUFF

These sunscreens are free of the chemicals oxybenzone (benzophenone-3) and/or octinoxate, which will be banned from in-state sales as of Jan. 1, 2021. Most claim water-resistance for 80 minutes.

Mineral-based

Active ingredient(s) are noted in parentheses:

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, SPF 30+ (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide); bluelizard.net 

California Kids #Supersensitive Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+ Sunscreen and California Baby Calendula Sunscreen, SPF 30+ (titanium dioxide); californiababy.com 

Goddess Garden Organics Everyday Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30 (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide); goddessgarden.com 

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 50 (zinc oxide); neutrogena.com 

Raw Elements Face + Body Broad Spectrum, SPF 30 (zinc oxide); rawelementsusa.com 

Chemical-based

These products contain avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene, which have low or moderate toxicity concerns. Another low-toxicity chemical, Mexoryl SX, is used in European sunscreens but is pending FDA approval for use in the U.S. 

Walgreens Sunscreen Moisturizing Lotion SPF 50; walgreens.com

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50; coppertone.com (Note: The spray version contains oxybenzone.)

Another guide to eco-friendly sunscreens
http://www.friendsofhanaumabay.org/wp-content/uploads/Reef-Eco-Friendly-Sunscreen-Guide-online-vs2.pdf

Caution

Read labels, as mainstream brands sell other sunscreens with oxybenzone and/or octinoxate. 

Spray sunscreens are not recommended by the Environmental Working Group, due to a risk of inhalation and difficulty ensuring an adequately thick and even layer on skin.

Unfortunately, our wastewater treatment facilities do NOT eliminate  chemicals in sunscreen from our wastewater or from being dumped into the ocean, so the best way to help our efforts to eliminate reef-toxic sunscreen from our marine environment is to:

1.  Avoid being in the sun during the sunniest part of the day (11-3);
2.  Wear protective clothing (hat, long sleeve shirt, rash guard) to minimize body areas that will need sunscreen;
3.  Choose to use mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead of chemical sunscreens; and
4.  Choose mineral sunscreen that is broad spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB), and is at least SPF30 (don’t really need more than that).