Hawaii is first state to ban sale of certain sunscreens

Hawaii became the first state in the nation to begin enacting ban on the sale of sunscreens containing coral harming chemicals.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed the legislation on Tuesday, but it won’t become effective until 2021.

The chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are believed by scientists to be toxic to coral reefs. The chemicals are in the majority of sunscreen products.

“This is just one small step toward protecting and restoring the resiliency of Hawaii’s reefs,” Ige said.

“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,” according to the bill.

The governor added that Hawaii would also need to continue other efforts to protect coral, including fighting invasive species, pollution from land runoff and climate change.

State Rep. Chris Lee, who represents Honolulu suburbs, said the law is a necessary step to help Hawaii pass on its reefs, ocean, tourism industry and way of life to the next generation.

Leaders need to act quickly to save what coral world has left, he said.

Explore more:  Top-seeded Albany downs Maine 83-66 in A-East tournament

“We know the tide is against us. We’ve got limited amount of time,” Lee said.

Craig Downs, the executive director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory told CNN that swimmers with sunscreen pollution would seriously damage the oceans. “You’re going to see the slow decline of the coral reefs in the area. And then you get an undersea, desolate landscape of just muck and mud and sand.”.

Once the law goes into effect, 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.

The group Retail Merchants of Hawaii has said it’s concerned the ban will discourage people from buying sunscreen at brick and mortar stores.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Rits Blog by Crimson Themes.