Hawaii bans certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs

Christopher Davidson
July 10, 2018

Governor David Ige is expected to sign a bill this week that will make Hawaii the first state to ban sunscreens containing harmful chemicals in an effort to protect marine life.

State lawmakers passed the legislation in early May.

It should be noted that medically prescribed sunscreens or makeup that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate are free from the ban that takes effects on January 1, 2021.

Governor Ige said the banned sunscreens would still be available to patients prescribed to them by healthcare providers. "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.

The new law prohibits counties from restricting either chemical until the state ban becomes effective.

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"We are blessed in Hawaii to be home of some of the most attractive natural resources on the planet, but our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the Earth can have everlasting impacts", Ige said.

Many Democrats in the state's legislature offered big support to this bill.

"These well-intentioned but misguided changes in policy may yield little to no environmental benefit to Hawaii, while at the same time restricting consumer choice, reducing access to cancer-protecting sunscreens, and likely increasing exposure to the devastation of skin cancer, " Kowcz added.

"In my lifetime, our planet has lost about half its coral reefs", Reporter Chris Lee stated. More than 3,500 of the world's best-selling sunscreen products, like Banana Boat, Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic and many more contains the avoided chemicals. However, sunscreen manufacturers and medical groups expressed an active opposition, saying that this measure is banning more than 70% of commercial sunscreens in present. Many organizations made public statements opposing the bans. However, mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to physically block the sun's rays are still allowed.

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