Hawaii first place to ban toxic sunscreen

| 10/07/2018 | 19 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The governor of Hawaii, David Ige, signed legislation last week prohibiting the sale or distribution of suntan lotions that contain toxic chemicals in the state from 2021, becoming the first place to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate. Researchers say these toxins are linked to widespread coral reef damage and are harmful to marine life. A press release from Ige’s office said the goal was “to preserve marine ecosystems, including coral reefs”. A 2015 study found high concentrations of the damaging toxins in the sea around Hawaii as well as here in the Caribbean.

Ige said in a statement, “Studies have documented the negative impact of these chemicals on corals and other marine life. Our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the earth can have lasting impacts. This new law is just one step toward protecting the health and resiliency of Hawaii’s coral reefs.”

There has been pushback, not surprisingly from the manufactures of sunscreen using these chemicals, but also from some health experts concerned that people may opt not to use any sunscreen, exposing them to dangerous UV rays. However, environmental advocates say the measure is necessary after the study concluded that oxybenzone, in particular, is responsible for killing coral reefs and causing DNA damage in the organisms during their larval stage.

In Hawaii, environmental organisations used the study as a platform to convince lawmakers that serious and immediate action was needed.

Here in the Cayman Islands, an increasing number of marine experts are raising concerns that this is another threat to our own fragile reefs that is not getting the attention it deserves, given the damage that it causes. While the local government can do very little to combat rising sea levels or coral bleaching and other diseases believed to be caused by climate change, conservationists say it can do something about controlling coastal development, over-fishing and sunscreen use.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature, USA, World News

Comments (19)

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  1. Mike says:

    Interesting! How long will it take Cayman to follow this positive lead? And by the way, stop cruise ships from selling the stuff as well. No effort, no matter how small should be spared in the fight to preserve our reefs that protect our coastline, provide sand for our beaches, provide habit for fish to breed, and entertain our much needed tourists. It is a no-brainer.

  2. JC says:

    Insignificant to the thousands of toilets flushed into our oceans daily by cruise ships …. Politically appealing but practically insignificant.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Seymour needs to step down as Minister for Health and the environment he doesn’t have a clue.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    USA-originating sunscreen isn’t doing what you want it to do anyway. The FDA hasn’t certified any new sunscreen active ingredients since 1978 and only two filter UVA, the most common: avobenzone. It’s so bad that Congress was compelled to pass the sunscreen innovation act in 2014. Much more effective broad-spectrum UVA +UVB active ingredients like Tinosorb S, Tinosorb M, Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL, all widely tested and available in Europe, Asia, and even Canada, are still years away from FDA approval and/or inclusion in USA-originating formulations.

  5. Anonymous says:

    And no stores on the big Island sell or hand out plastic bags…..

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Way to go HI!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile Dwayne Seymour is trying to see how much he can destroy our environment in a 4 year period.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Can you publish a list of safe and unsafe brands CNS?

    CNS: I found this online: Your Reef Safe Sunscreen Guide. If any retail outlets in the Cayman Islands let me know what reef safe sunscreen brands they stock and the price, we will give them a free plug on CNS Local Life.

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