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Hawaii Bans Chemical Sunscreens – Find Hope in Mineral Sunscreens

by kelly / May, 9 2018 01:30

Photo of Hawaii sunset and beach

Hawaii became the first state to pass a bill banning the sale of chemical sunscreens that contribute to the destruction of coral reefs. It’s interesting timing considering May is Skin Cancer Awareness month. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to get sunburned in Hawaii. Look to mineral only sunscreens (like ours Laughing) that don’t harm coral reefs and keep your skin safe in the sun.

Hawaiian Ban

On May 1, 2018 Hawaii state lawmakers passed a bill to ban chemical sunscreens – specifically the chemical UV filters oxybenzone and octinoxate. The ban is waiting to be signed by the governor of Hawaii and would go into effect January 1, 2021.

Ban To Protect Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are in danger. We actually covered this issue regarding coral reels and chemical sunscreens in 2013! Here’s a link to the blog post we wrote called “Toxic Sunscreens Are Killing Our Coral Reefs”.

But if you want to save our post for a rainy day – here’s a quick summary of what’s happening with coral reefs. According to The New York Times:

“An estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen is believed to be deposited in oceans annually with the greatest damage found in popular reef areas in Hawaii and the Caribbean.” Additionally a 2015 study of coral reefs in Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Israel found that oxybenzone: “leaches the coral of its nutrients and bleaches it white. It can also disrupt the development of fish and other wildlife."

As a result the bill specifically says:

“Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause mortality in developing coral; increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit; and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms. These chemicals have also been shown to degrade corals' resiliency and ability to adjust to climate change factors and inhibit recruitment of new corals.”

Of course sunscreen isn’t the only enemy to coral reefs – add ocean warming, agriculture run off and sewage dumping and you have a lot for reefs to battle. So any small changes we make to protect our environment are helpful.

Don’t Fret – Use A Mineral Sunscreen in Hawaii and To Protect Coral Reefs

So you might be wondering – how do I still protect our coral reefs and myself? Well the answer is pretty simple – choose a mineral only sunblock.

Just make sure you choose one that is in fact mineral only. Some products branded as mineral sunscreens also contain chemical UV filters. To ensure you are buying a mineral only sunblock check the product’s label, specifically its active ingredients. The only active ingredients you should see on a mineral only sunscreen are zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

In case you’re wondering Block Island Organics sunscreens are mineral only!

More on Mineral Sunscreens

While we believe sun protection is vital – we also believe protecting our environment is as well. Thankfully there is an easy way we can do both with a mineral only sunscreen.

For more on the other benefits of mineral sunscreen check our Mineral Sunscreen blog series.

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