From CBS, and other news media outlets:
Hawaii is ending the sale of sunscreen containing two chemicals believed to harm coral reefs. Gov. David Ige on Tuesday signed legislation which makes Hawaii the first U.S. state to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate.
“This is just one small step toward protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii’s reefs,” Ige said at a signing ceremony for the bill, which takes effect in 2021. He said the state would need to continue other efforts to protect coral, including fighting invasive species, pollution from land runoff and climate change.
Sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate will only be available to those with a prescription from a physician. Others will have to buy sunscreens without these chemicals or bring their own sunscreen with them to Hawaii.
Scientists have found the two substances can be toxic to coral reefs, which are a vital part of the ocean ecosystem and a popular draw for tourists. Both are widely used in sunscreen, with oxybenzone present in the blood of 96 percent of Americans, according to the Environmental Working Group.
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.
Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen are released onto coral reefs every year, a 2015 paper found.
For us, we do not venture into the water much anymore. And we are trying to reduce our exposure to the sun in general, much less at the ocean.
But we do wear sunscreen, almost every day. Our latest favorite, replacing many years of Hawaiian Tropic (oxybenzone 4%), is now from Trader Joe’s. It also contains 4% oxybenzone, but we do not use it when we swim in the ocean!!
I think while we are here in the islands, we will search for a new sunscreen, safe for the coral and the environment.
BTW, the weather is now fabulous!!!! I hear you are getting lots of rain, mud slides, and floods. Sorry. We had some snow on Maui!!!!